By KEITH TAYLOR, Kentucky Today
LEXINGTON — Ashton Hagans doesn’t think much will change when Kentucky takes on Georgia for the second time this season Tuesday night at Rupp Arena.
“It was good to be back at home, but now we’re back in Lexington playing them,” said Hagans, a former Georgia Mr. Basketball and Gatorade Player of the Year winner. “It’s the same game plan. We just go out there and play our game, stick together and try to get the win.”
The Wildcats (13-4, 4-1 Southeastern Conference) used a big second-half comeback to defeat the Bulldogs 78-69 earlier this month in Athens. Georgia has lost three of its first four conference games, including a 91-59 loss at Mississippi State last weekend. Kentucky ranked No. 15 in this week’s Associated Press Top-25 poll, has won 10 straight over the Bulldogs.
Like Hagans, Kentucky assistant coach Tony Barbee isn’t expecting anything different from Tom Crean’s squad, which will rely on freshman sensation Anthony Edwards.
“They’re no different when you watch them play,” Barbee said. “They’re doing some different things on defense, they’re doing some different things on offense, but obviously with (Anthony) Edwards on the floor, he makes them different because they’ve got a guy who’s capable for 40 at any moment, so you’ve got to pay a lot of attention to him, but then they’re dangerous in other places.”
Barbee said Edwards, who leads Georgia in scoring with 19.1 points per game, has the ability to make “hard shots look really easy” and creates issues for opposing defenses.
“Obviously, we’ve had a bunch of those guys over the years here that, they’re special players for that reason — they make the game look easy and the game becomes easy for him,” Barbee said. “They’re doing a lot of stuff with Edwards to get him in the post because he is such a physical, strong, athletic guard who can create a lot of mismatches on that block. And he’s a good passer. He’s one of those guys who demands a lot of attention when you prepare to play them.”