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Not a pretty win but John Calipari just glad beat up Cats got a win

Ashton Hagans, left, willed UK to a win Monday but coach John Calipari knows Hagans will be “sore” Tuesday after playing in pain. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Utah Valley hit 11 3-point shots. Kentucky hit ONE.

Yet somehow undermanned Kentucky still found a way to beat Utah Valley 82-74 Monday night in Rupp Arena.

Okay, an 8-point win over Utah Valley for a Kentucky team that a week ago had been ranked No. 1 normally would not be a cause to celebrate. Yet after being upset by Evansville last week and considering the injuries UK was dealing with, this was a good win for John Calipari’s team to get.

That’s why somehow this statement by Calipari after the game was sort of good news: “Ashton is going to be in pain tomorrow,” Calipari said.

That’s sophomore point guard Ashton Hagans who had 26 points on 7-for-14 shooting from the field and 12-for-12 at the foul line along with six rebounds, five assists, one steal and one block in 36 1’2 minutes to more than offset six turnovers and some rare defensive lapses.

However, the last two games it’s become clear that Hagans is not 100 percent healthy even if he has managed to still go both games. That’s why Calipari noted that Hagans would be hurting Tuesday.

Odds are sophomore guard Immanuel Quickley will be, too. He didn’t even play after suffering a chest injury at the end of Sunday’s practice — “He’s one that if he could have played, he would, no question,” Calipari said.

Throw in sophomore forward EJ Montgomery missing his third straight game with an ankle injury and UK was down to seven healthy scholarship players and four of them — Hagans, Nate Sestina, Nick Richards and Tyrese Maxey played 34 minutes or more.

“I’m happy we won the game. We’ve got to get these guys back and get going,” Calipari said.

The problem is Calipari doesn’t know when either one will be back. To make matters worse, freshman guard Kahlil Whitney dislocated his finger late in the game. But give him credit for racing down the court to grab a key defensive board just seconds after he dislocated his finger.

“Think about it. His finger popped out and he went down and tried to rebound that way,” Calipari said.
Will be miss practice/games?

“I don’t know yet. Let’s hope he doesn’t,” Calipari said.

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  1. Hey Cal…….No one is really going to feel sorry about your youth or injury problems. On the injury front, could it possibly be related to your bringing in some “soft”guys while you chase stars? Is EJ Vanderbilt 2.0? Are these players not being properly conditioned? You didn’t lose 2 in a row at home but you did get out coached and out played again. Mark Pope supposedly took his 3 best players with him and the first year coach is basically in a new system and you barely survived. It was a great game by Nick and Hagans and great board work and FT shooting, but they looked the more skilled and better shooting team and moved the ball much better that we did. Our problems have not really changed from the last couple of years i.e., we still don’t or can’t defend the 3, can’t make the 3’s even though you said we had a bunch of “makers” this year, can’t defend the rim or make bunnies at the rim when we get a chance, or can’t work the ball inside like all our opponents do. Will the real UK team please stand up or have they already done so first game?

    1. Hey Mike, there are a few of us Cat fans that feel sorry for Cal’s injury problems, but not you, right? I know his future opponents don’t. Cal didn’t get out coached if he wins as I see it. Great free throw shooting based on fouls UK players drew on drives toward the basket was the key to victory on a otherwise bad shooting night for UK. Add to that Nick’s great performance. Had the 3’s fell for UK shooters it would have been a blowout. I agree that is a problem now. Playing just 7 men is a real problem too. Cal had to address that going in if they ever got into foul trouble. Any basketball enthusiast could appreciate that. You call these guys soft? Hagans played hurt! Are you really that stupid to say something like that? On a night when their opponent is hitting threes from Hazard, UK still wins, and you say he got out coached. You are dumber than a rock. Without his coaching they would have gotten beat for sure. UK 3-1 I’ll take it. Go Cats!!!!

  2. I really think the injurys may have an impact of how this team is playing. Not trying make a excuse but they have not played well at all since that Eastern ky game. I really think once they get everyone healthy we may see that team again. Just have to wait and see how this plays out

  3. Losers make excuses for everything. When someone gets hurt its time for the next man up to step up and play. It’s time for Caipari to use what he has instead of telling them how handicapped they are. Jemarl Baker had 16 points off the bench in 16 minutes in Arizona’s last game. Why do UK players that leave UK flourish in other big time schools and can’t get in the game here? It would be one thing if we were winning championships, but we aren’t winning anything that matters.

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