By LARRY VAUGHT
Knowing his emphasis was going to be on reducing his turnovers, Ashton Hagans could have been shaken when he got a turnover in the first two minutes at Vanderbilt Tuesday.
Granted, the turnover could be blamed on teammate Immanuel Quickley stopping short of where Hagans thought he was going, but it was still a turnover.
“It’s always going to be something. Last game I had like six (turnovers). After that one turnover I just tried not to force anything and let the game come to me,” Hagans said after UK’s road win where he let the game come to him to the tune of 11 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.
Kentucky got down 14 points in the first half at Vanderbilt when the Commodores hit eight 3-point shots.
“Just keep our heads in the game and keep pushing the ball up the court. If they are making all those, there is no way they can come out and stay hot in the second half. That’s what I was saying in the huddle (at halftime),” Hagans said.
“If they’re hot now, they won’t be able to hit all these shots in the second half. They were hitting a lot of 3s and getting in the paint, but we came out in the second half and made some adjustments.”
The biggest adjustment was that Kentucky got more aggressive led by Hagans who missed part of the first half after picking up two fouls in 10 seconds and felt he “left my team out there” without him.
“We had a few mistakes in the first half that we came out and fixed in the second half. Nick (Richards) helped us. Tyrese (Maxey) helped us. Quick (Immanuel Quickley) helped us. Everybody came in and did what they could do,” Hagans said. “Being down by 10 (actually 14) and knowing that we finished the game fighting. It’s a brotherhood. Every game we win on the road, we try to go find the student section and go turn them up. It’s just showing love to each other.”
What about the “Go Big Blue” chants from UK late in the game and after the game?
“When they got loud, it kind of felt like a home game a little bit. But we just tried to stick with each other,” Hagans said. “Even though they (Vanderbilt) haven’t been playing so good in a couple of games you know that when you come in here with ‘Kentucky’ on your jersey that you’re going to get their best shot. We had to stick to the game plan and stay locked in.”