By LARRY VAUGHT
Nate Sestina certainly played in conference road games when he was at Bucknell. But they were nothing like what he found at Georgia Tuesday when Kentucky came from behind in its first SEC road game of the year.
“It was awesome. That’s the kind of environment I came here for,” said Sestina Friday. “People are booing you as soon as you come out for warmups. Guys are kind of talking (trash) to you from the stands.
“But, tune it out and focus on what you’re trying to do. I loved it. You show up, there’s just red everywhere, place is packed for warmups. Coach always says it’s everybody else’s sellout game and that was something I was really looking forward to and it kind of lived up to its hype.”
Sestina played most of the second half along with guards Immanuel Quickley, Ashton Hagans and Tyrese Maxey with Nick Richards in the middle.
“I think, when you have three veterans on the court, four veterans on the court, it helps. I’m used to that. At Bucknell, I always had guys who had played a lot. We always had one freshman and four or five veterans most of the time,” Sestina said.
“So, I think when you have five guys out there who have played in big games, it helps. Then a kid like Tyrese , who is playing really, really well and kind of thrives in the spotlight and playing in a big game like that and he was playing really well, I think a group like that really does mesh well together and play well together.”
Now Kentucky needs to try and keep that momentum going when it hosts Alabama today at noon. The Crimson Tide like to play fast and shoot an abundance of 3-pointers.
“We have to get back in transition, stop them from getting transition 3’s, force them into tough 2′, force them to put the ball on the floor,” Sestina said. “I thought we did a really good job in the second half, especially, against Georgia stopping their transition offense, getting back, walling up and kind of playing team defense and not just relying on Ashton to get a steal or Tyrese or Immanuel to get a steal or Nick to block a shot.
“It was kind of a team effort. I think it’s kind of the same thing – get back in transition defense, stop them, force them into putting the ball on the floor and force them to shoot 2’s.”