Kentucky tops #1 Michigan State in season opener

EJ Montgomery fights for a rebound (photo credit Teresa Fraley)

By Lukas Witt

Opening night of college basketball kicks off at the Historic Madison Square Garden for the State Farm Champions Classic between the #1 Michigan State Spartans and #2 Kentucky Wildcats. Both teams got off to a slow start but that didn’t last long as Kentucky’s veteran Ashton Hagans made some key shots to get things rolling finishing the night with 11 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists. Sophomore guard Immanuel Quickley finished in double digits again with 10 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists. EJ Montgomery looked more comfortable on both ends of the floor finishing with 6 points and 2 rebounds but made an impact you won’t see in the box score. Nick Richards came off the bench tonight after rolling an ankle in the last exhibition game and finished with 5 points and 5 rebounds before fouling out late in the 2nd half. Holly Rowe asked Coach Cal in pre-game where he could find a shot if needed, his response was that he didn’t know because it was early in the season. After tonight it’s clear that Coach Cal has an idea where shots can be found when needed. Freshman guard Tyrese Maxey had a breakout college debut finishing with 26 points, including 3 deep bombs from behind the arch, 5 rebounds and 2 assists. Kentucky will take on Eastern Kentucky University at Rupp on Friday, November 8 at 7pm it can be seen on the SEC Network.

Kentucky closes out exhibition play against Kentucky State

Sestia coaching from the floor

By Lukas Witt

Kentucky finished the exhibition part of the season as they took on the Thorobreds of Kentucky State at Rupp on Friday night. The Cats got off to a slow start, but Freshman Khalil Whitney got things going with a put back and the foul to go to the line where he finished off a 3 point play. On the night Whitney finished with 15 points, 7/13 from the field, 5 rebounds, 3 assists. Another Freshman Keion Brooks Jr. had a good showing tonight as he finished with 9 points and 9 rebounds with strong play around the rim. Immanuel Quickley again proved his shooting ability as he finished the night with 15 points and adding 2 rebounds and 2 assists and was MVP of the first half. Johnny Juzang lit it up from behind the arch in the second half hitting back to back 3 pointers and finished 3/5 from 3 point range. Graduate transfer Nate Sestina played a key role always talking on both ends of the floor at one time he was even coaching from the bench. He finished the night with 13 points, 6/8 shooting from the field, 8 rebounds and 2 assists in 30 minutes of play. Final score 83-51. Kentucky is back in action Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden as they take on Michigan State in the Champions Classic, game time is set for 9:30 pm on ESPN.

Kentucky Women’s Basketball has strong showing in exhibition

pre-game huddle

By Lukas Witt

The Kentucky Women played an incredible game at historic Memorial Coliseum as they took on University of Southern Indiana Screaming Eagles. The outcome was was a big win for Kentucky 80-44. All-American Rhyne Howard started slow scoring only 3 points in the first half but came out of the locker room and turned it on scoring 17 in the second half and finishes with 20 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks and 2 assists. In her college debut Kentucky naitive Emma King finished with 12 points and 4-6 from behind the arch, one from way downtown. Jaida Roper came off the bench to give the Cats a big lift finishing with just 6 points but added 2 rebounds and 6 assists to keep the offense rolling. KeKe McKinney showed out for her Birthday with 6 points, 7 rebounds and 5 blocks, she seemed to swat away anything that came her way last night. Tatyana Wyatt also got to the glass for 6 rebounds as Kentucky out rebounded the Screaming Eagles 42-32. But the Player of the Game was Sabrina Haines in her debut after transferring from Arizona State and rehabbing from a knee injury she finished with 11 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals and was all over the floor at key moments during the game. This up and down full court pace is going to be fun to watch this season in addition to their smothering full court pressure. Watch for Blair Green to make an impact on both ends of the court this season.

Catch Kentucky in their season opener Tuesday November 5th as they take on Mount St. Mary’s at Memorial Coliseum. Gametime is 7pm and can be watched on SEC Network+ or on the Radio at UK Sports Network 98.5FM