LEXINGTON, Ky. (KT) — Immanuel Quickley is comfortable shooting 3-pointers in transition and it showed in Kentucky’s 71-59 win over Missouri Saturday at Rupp Arena.
“I’m very comfortable (shooting 3-pointers in transition),” said Quickley, who made four shots from long range in the team’s Southeastern Conference opener against the Tigers. “(Transition 3-pointers) — that’s one of the drills I do best in. I make like 10 or 11 in a row. It’s also in my pregame warmup and I do it pretty much every day in my workout. I try to make sure I get those game shots and transition threes.”
Quickley made four shots from long range against Missouri, including one in the first half that gave the Wildcats the lead for good.
“It’s always good to help change the game,” he said. “My way is just the 3. I think the coach even called a timeout. If you can get a coach to call a timeout that’s another great thing.”
Coming off a 78-70 win over No. 7 Louisville last weekend, Quickley said the Wildcats played well enough to win against the Tigers.
“It was really great,” Quickley said. “Any win you can get. It’s better to learn from a win than a loss, I don’t think we played great, but we played good enough to win. Missouri’s a really good team so I give them credit. But we just have to learn from what we did today, watch film and just be ready.”
Like most of his teammates, Quickley was concerned after sidekick Ashton Hagans suffered a low-ankle sprain late in the second half.
“He said he was fine, but you always hold your breath when it’s somebody like Ashton, the heart and soul of our team especially defensively,” Quickley said. “His leadership and all of the things that he brings for our team is really important.”
In addition to Quickley’s contributions against the Tigers, junior forward Nick Richards sparked the Wildcats with 21 points and 12 rebounds.
“He was great,” Quickley “… he’s been playing great, he’s been blocking shots and rebounding, doing all the things we expected him to do.”
Kentucky freshman guard Tyrese Maxey followed-up his 25-point performance against Louisville with eight points in the Wildcats’ win over Missouri. Maxey is still seeking consistency as Kentucky settles into the routine of conference play.
“It’s different, of course,” Maxey said. “It’s your first year of college coming from the high school level. Players are better, competition (is) a lot harder (and you’ve got to) respond to coaching. But we just try — the whole freshman group — we’ve been trying to stay consistent and trying to get better every day.”
Kentucky coach John Calipari said Maxey was “shaky” in his SEC debut.
“His offense was shaky, which meant he emotionally wasn't the same as he was the other night,” he said. “All these young kids, their offense gets their emotions either up or down. You can't be that guy because then you're like this the whole season.”
Gametracker: Kentucky at Georgia, 9 p.m. Tuesday. TV/Radio: ESPN, UK Radio Network.
Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at email@example.com or twitter @keithtaylor21.