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Cats had “big target” for Aces to hit but Tyrese Maxey said loss was “more us”

Tyrese Maxey (Vicky Graff Photo)

By KEITH TAYLOR, Kentucky Today

LEXINGTON — Kentucky forward Nate Sestina wasn’t surprised by Evansville’s performance in its 67-64 win over Kentucky Tuesday night and wasn’t caught off-guard by the Purple Aces. He said coach Walter McCarty’s squad “played with energy for 40 minutes.”

“It’s everybody’s championship game when they play here and play us,” Sestina, a graduate transfer from Bucknell, said after the loss. “I’ve been in that position. You have a big target on your back and we have a really huge target on our back every game and they came in with that kind of confidence and they were excited to play us. It was like their championship game.”

Kentucky freshman guard Tyrese Maxey said the loss can be more directed at the Wildcats as opposed to Evansville.

“It was more us,” Maxey said of the loss. “I feel like didn’t contain the bounce. They got to the rim, made layups and we really didn’t compete like we should have been competing out there and we’ve got to fix it.”

As Maxey knows, its a long season and the Wildcats have time to correct the issues that plagued them in the first loss of the season.

“We can’t look at it and dwell on it,” Maxey, who had 15 points and three rebounds, said. “We have to build on it. Look at it and move forward.

“We can’t dwell on the past. It happened and we didn’t want that to happen, but hey, we have a long season ahead of us and we’re just trying to get back to the grind and move forward.”

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Gametracker: Utah Valley at Kentucky, Monday, 7 p.m. TV/Radio: ESPN2, UK Radio Network.

Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at or twitter @keithtaylor21.


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  1. Probably the 3 worst days in UK sports history, and the common denominator for both were impotent coaching staffs that should have won but simply were unable to make in-game adjustments. The UT loss expected because they own us, but the loss to Evansville will humble Cal for rest of his life and will never be forgotten or forgiven by BBN. Cal was taken behind the wood shed and totally controlled by one of our own. He was dominated from cover to cover, and the game really wasn’t as close to final score.

  2. Water is wet, the sky is blue, and we are in for a long basketball season. Last night was just the tip of the iceburg. We still have a couple of dozen left to navigate around.

    1. Wee may be looking at another 8-10 loss season, and we may be closer to what we showed last night than against MSU. We have no interior offense and don’t have the “makers” Cal had been alluding to. Think about the in close shots we missed all last year, and the beat goes on. I’m still having a problem wondering why Cal and staff couldn’t get game turned around. Evansville looked like the #1 team and played like it. McCarty was so poised and under control last night.

  3. As for the football season, we might eke out a spot in the Music City Bowl, maybe

    1. I am not confident that we can beat UL.

  4. We probably won’t be Lousyville, but should beat Vandy and UTMartin even with a one dimensional offense. I am guessing we would get matched up with someone like Mich St. or N. Carolina assuming either gets their 6 wins.

  5. As for Maxey’s comments, he is right. Nobody was ready to play. Everyone was playing as individuals and not as a team. It looks like they only run one play over and over again where 80% of the passes occur at the top of the key. They better learn how to play zone if Sestina is going to play much…he couldn’t guard a chair last night. Ashton is feeling the heat from trying to be as good as Maxey and he just isn’t and never will be. Immanuel seems to have lost his confidence. Whitney and Brooks are still works in progress. Why doesn’t Juzang get to play more? Let’s face it, if Langford had not been hurt for MSU, we would be 1 – 2 now even with Maxey’s heroics. Something has messed with these kids heads and I think its Calipari. He is a mediocre coach at best, so he resorts to these mind games that only hurt these young kids.
    Looking ahead, UAB, GT, and Utah look more like tossups now. OSU and Lousyville will probably be favored. We could very well be 9 – 3 or 8 – 4 going into conference play. Calipari believes if his team plays too well in Nov., they will go flat come March. I think that’s a bunch of crap. Sometimes I have to wonder if he intentionally chooses not to have these kids prepared and that puts them in a position where they have to play as individuals. Come on 2022! You can’t get here quick enough.

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