By CHANDLER WILCOX, Contributing Writer
Sophomore point guard Ashton Hagans continued his excellent play in Kentucky’s 83-52 win Saturday over Fairleigh Dickinson, recording his second career double-double with 11 points and 11 assists while only having two turnovers.
Hagans now has had at least six assists in five straight games, a career long, and has the longest streak of five or more assists since De’Aaron Fox did in seven straight games around this time in the 2016-17 season. He also now has a 32-4 assist-to-turnover ratio in the last four games, further cementing his status as another great point guard in the Calipari era.
Kentucky coach John Calipari feels Hagans has been as efficient with the ball as any point guard in the country, and cites his recent assist-to-turnover ratio as a reason for that.
“Let me see if anybody in the country is doing that,” Calipari said of Hagans. “He’s getting the idea of being more careful with the ball.”
Forward EJ Montgomery, who himself for the second-straight game set a career high with 25 points , also raved about the efficiency Hagans is playing at and is very appreciative of Hagans’ ability to find him and his teammates.
“I’m loving it because he is passing it to me, and to everyone else,” Montgomery said. “He’s a great point guard.”
Hagans has developed great vision on the court, as he has been able to find his teammates down low, running in transition, and all over the court in general, which he gives a lot of credit to his teammates themselves and practice for helping him develop that ability.
“It’s my teammates helping me move, getting open as I drive,” Hagans said. “You know it just comes with reps in practice, going hard in practice, and everything like that.”
Hagans after the game also gave a lot of credit to the team as a whole having a focused mindset with the mentality of fighting and finishing, something Kentucky coach John Calipari has been pushing the team to do lately.
“The whole focus on the practice this week is just fight, fight and finish,” Hagans said. “I think we came out in the beginning fighting, being aggressive, (and) just sticking to the game plan.”
Hagans has been playing at an elite level this season, and it only helps this Kentucky team get better and better as the schedule begins to get tougher this December, including playing two very good teams in Ohio State and Louisville later in the month to finish up the non-conference schedule.