February 2020 archive

Immanuel Quickley, UK knew “people doubted” Cats

Immanuel Quickley (Vicky Graff Photo)

By KEITH TAYLOR, Kentucky Today

LEXINGTON — Kentucky captured is 49th Southeastern Conference title Saturday, a feat that likely will boost the team’s NCAA Tournament resume nearly two weeks until Selection Sunday.

The No. 8 Wildcats (24-5, 14-2) ended a rare two-game losing streak to Auburn with a 73-66 victory, securing a top seed and a double-bye for the league tournament that begins March 11 in Nashville. Kentucky has won eight in a row and 16 of its last 18 games and back-to-back losses to Utah and Ohio State at Las Vegas in December have long been forgotten.

Kentucky pulls away late to beat Auburn 73-66 to claim SEC championship

Nick Richards (Jeff Houchin Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky turned to its defense to wrap up another SEC championship.

Auburn missed 10 of its last 12 shots as UK pulled away for a 73-66 victory, it’s eighth straight SEC victory.

Kentucky won even though its three starting guards were a combined 10-for-36 from the field — Ashton Hagans was 2 of 13, Tyrese Maxey 5 of 13 and Immanuel Quickley 3 of 10.

However, Quickley did go 11-for-11 at the foul line to finish with a game-high 18 points along with a team-high 12 rebounds. Maxey was 7-for-8 at the line to get 17 points and he also had seven rebounds.

Numbers favor Cats by 12 over Auburn

Auburn’s defense throttled UK earlier this season. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By RICHARD CHEEKS, Contributing Writer

On the first day of February, the Cats lost to Auburn 75-66 in Auburn, Alabama, and on the last day of February, these team meet again, this time in Rupp Arena. Since that loss, the Cats have run the table with seven consecutive wins while Auburn needed overtime to win its next three consecutive games before dropping back to back games at Missouri and at Georgia.

Playing with injuries just part of basketball for Ashton Hagans

Ashton Hagans (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Ashton Hagans admits his thigh bruise has bothered him more than he let on last week.

“It was actually hurting. I woke up, just had a knot. Just coming with (trainer) Geoff (Staton), he was getting me right,” Hagans said. “But you know, it was bruised. Treatment got it better and I kept working on it, but it was hurting.”

But that has not been his only injury. The sophomore point guard says both shoulders, ankle and back have also bothered him this season.

John Calipari again downplays significance of SEC tourney

Immanuel Quickley (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

John Calipari just can’t help himself.

He knows how much Kentucky fans enjoy coming to the SEC Tournament, especially in Nashville, and what winning the tournament means to the Big Blue fans.

Yet once again on Friday he downplayed the importance on the SEC Tournament.

“I know people get mad and our fans go there (to the SEC Tournament). It’s almost an obligation because so many of them go to the tournament, but the whole point for me is, that tournament you’re playing three games back-to-back-to-back,” Calipari said.

Can Cats keep from getting manhandled by Auburn?

Kentucky players left the court with their heads down after losing at Auburn. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

When Auburn beat Kentucky 75-66 on Feb. 1 there was one overwhelming reason the Wildcats lost — or at least UK coach John Calipari thought so.

Calipari credited Auburn’s physical play for allowing the Tigers to “manhandle” Kentucky and center Nick Richards had a hard time playing against Auburn center Austin Wiley.

“You better play lower than them and they get down. You better know that they’ll wedge you under the goal or they’ll, on block outs, they’re not afraid to bump and do stuff,” Calipari said Friday

Wildcats have to “lock in” on Auburn, not SEC title or anything else

Ashton Hagans (Vicky Graff Photo)

By KEITH TAYLOR, Kentucky Today

LEXINGTON — The stakes will be high when Kentucky takes on Auburn Saturday.

The eighth-ranked Wildcats (23-5, 13-2 Southeastern Conference) can clinch the league’s regular-season title and claim the top seed for the upcoming conference tournament with a win over the Tigers with three games remaining in the regular season.

Clinching a 49th SEC title has been a topic of discussion for the Wildcats this week.

Freshman Carter Baughman has brought even more to Centre College basketball than he anticipated

Carter Baughman (Centre College Athletics Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

DANVILLE — Carter Baughman thought he might be able to “come in and contribute a little bit” at Centre College as a freshman.

Instead, the former Mercer County standout has started 25 of 26 games — every game except the Colonels’ Senior Day game — and is averaging almost 20 minutes per game.

“I have been playing some very good minutes for a freshman,” Baughman, the 12th Region Player of the Year his senior season at Mercer, said. “I had no idea I could come in and start and play as much as I have. I thought I could bring something to the team and so far I have.”

John Calipari on Malik Monk: “We’re here for him.”

De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk at the NBA Draft three years ago.

By LARRY VAUGHT

Former Kentucky standout Malik Monk was starting to seem at ease in his third NBA season with Charlotte and was averaging 17 points over the last 13 games when he was given an indefinite suspension by the NBA earlier this week for violating the league’s anti-drug policy.

Monk is averaging career highs in points, rebounds, assists and minutes this season, which was a big deal since he’s eligible for a contract extension after the season. Obviously, this won’t help his case.

Could North Carolina be fertile recruiting area for UK football?

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky football has become a recruiting fixture in Ohio under coach Mark Stoops and recruiting coordinator Vince Marrow. Every year the Cats are now getting top tier players out of Ohio and did so again in the 2020 recruiting class.

But recently I keep seeing where UK is offering more players than ever before in North Carolina, a state where UK has had very little recruiting success.

So what is going on?

Rivals.com recruiting analyst Justin Rowland said the reason for the interest in North Carolina is simple — new defensive line coach Anwar Stewart. The former Kentucky player was an assistant coach at Appalachian State in Boone, N.C., before recently joining Stoops’ staff.