By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky freshman guard Ashton Hagans took a hard fall in the second half of Saturday night’s 56-47 win over Vanderbilt but appears to be fine.
“Fell on a kid’s foot,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said. “I think he’s fine. He went back in the game. He’s a tough kid. I gave him a minute. I said, ‘You’ve got one minute and you’re going back.'”
Hagans told Calipari that was fine and went back in even with a slight limp at first.
“It’s feeling better, I just came down awkwardly,” Hagans, who scored 15 points and also had four rebounds, four assists and three steals, said. “I just need to ice it when I get done with these interviews, but I’m feeling better.”
Once again Kentucky had to overcome a slow start where it fell behind by 10 points in the first five minutes of the game.
Why is UK getting off to such slow starts in SEC play?
“That’s a good question, we really just have to come together as a group in practice. Listen to what the coaches have to say, but other than that, as the season goes along, we will click,” Hagans said.
The freshman said the coaches are encouraging players to play “good” defense.
“When we score baskets, we sometimes celebrate too much by not getting into the press or listening to PJ Washington off a made basket. Like I said, as the season goes along we will be much better,” Hagans said.
Hagans said the Cats had trouble getting the ball inside against Vanderbilt’s zone defense that was overplaying the post.
“I guess Keldon (Johnson) and Tyler (Herro) couldn’t really see if it was open or not and just ended up taking it to the basket,” Hagans said.
Calipari wants Hagans, who was 7-for-9 from the field, to shoot more himself.
“He’s a better shooter than people think he is, but he’s — and I’m telling him in huddles, ‘Shoot it, man. I’m giving you the green light. Let it go.’ But he’s just so used to running downhill,” Calipari said. “You see him at the foul line, if you could go make 10 out of 11 from the foul line (like he did against Texas A&M), you can shoot. I mean, you can shoot. The way they are playing him, it’s basically a foul shot, one step back. It’s the same shot. They are leaving you alone, so let it go.”