By LARRY VAUGHT
Sports Illustrated writer and NBA draft insider Jeremy Woo loved the way that freshmen Tyrese Maxey of Kentucky and Anthony Edwards of Georgia went “head to head for a good chunk” of Tuesday’s game that UK eventually won.
“One of the better games I’ve seen live this season. Host of NBA executives and scouts in the house,” Woo posted on Twitter.
Kentucky won 78-69 behind 17 points, eight assists, seven rebounds, four blocks and two steals from Maxey while Edwards had a game-high 23 points, five rebounds and two assists.
“He’s great. He’s really tough to guard, especially when he has the green light like that,” Maxey said about Edwards. “He has to make plays for that team to win, and it’s really hard to guard him. Proud of him to keep working on his game.”
The two have known each other for a long time and are friends — something many didn’t realize when Edwards seemed to be taunting Maxey after driving, knocking him down and scoring on him. Maxey didn’t seem offended by what happened.
“It was amazing, especially on the road in front of their home crowd. We had a lot of fun, we couldn’t really talk during the game. After the game we exchanged words, hugged each other said keep doing what your’e doing. See you in a couple of weeks,” Maxey said.
That’s because Edwards, perhaps the nation’s top freshman and projected top three pick in June’s NBA draft, and the Bulldogs play at Kentucky on Jan. 21.
Maxey wouldn’t say Tuesday’s games was his most complete game — but it certainly seemed that way. He drove inside, scored, found open teammate, was a force on the boards and had a career high in blocked shots.
“I was just really trying to win the game. I have not seen my stats,” Maxey said after the game. “I got in the lane and threw passes to Nick (Richards) and Immanuel (Quickley). Coach said if you rebound, you stay in the game so I tried to rebound out there.”
He did that … and more just like he has in UK’s biggest games this season.
“We were very resilient down the stretch,” Maxey said. “This is my first road game — mine, Kahlil (Whitney’s), Keion (Brooks Jr’s.). It was really crazy out there. It was a very good experience, and we’re ready to get back to the lab tomorrow and get ready for Alabama (on Saturday).”