Immanuel Quickley's clutch shots lead Kentucky basketball to win over Alabama

Ruben Hill
January 15, 2020

Ashton Hagans celebrates Saturday's win.

Saturday, Rupp resembled something out of The Twilight Zone as a hot-shooting Alabama offense was made to look pedestrian while a Kentucky offense that came into the day ranked No. 300 in 3-point shooting excelled from beyond the arc. Ashton Hagans fell an assist and rebound short of a triple-double with 15 points while Immanuel Quickley connected on 5-of-6 three pointers to lead all scorers with 19 points. Entering the game, the Wildcats made just 30.10 percent of its shots from deep. The Tigers entered Saturday as one of two remaining undefeated teams in Division I college basketball. "They made it tough for us to score in the paint".

"With him shooting like that, it's a completely different team", Alabama coach Nate Oats said. For perspective, the Crimson Tide topped the 90-point plateau just once last season and has just 10 90-point games - three that went into overtime - in the last 12 years dating back to the 2008-09 season. "If he shoots 5-of-6 from three, I am not sure who is better than that in the country".

Still just a sophomore, the 18-year-old Lewis has also elevated his game of late within Oats' uptempo system, further validating the National Basketball Association buzz with more well-rounded play averaging 16.5 points, 6.25 rebounds, 4.75 assists and just 1.75 turnovers over Alabama's last four games. He added two three throws 24 seconds later as Kentucky beat the Crimson Tide for the 12th time in 13 meetings despite shooting just 32% after intermission. "I think he is the best point guard in the country", Calipari said. Alabama made only four of 21 shots from beyond the arc, seven fewer than its league-leading season average.

Kentucky also got another double-double from junior center Nick Richards, his seventh of the season.

A lot of that had to do with Nick Richards, who had a double-double with 13 points, 11 rebounds and blocked five shots. He also stayed out of foul trouble and finished the game with just one foul.

"It feels a lot like high school", he said.

The Cats were really careless with the ball at times, committing 14 turnovers resulting in 17 points for Alabama.

Oates said most of Alabama's points in the paint came off transition, offensive boards or when United Kingdom would not sag off shooters to leave 3-point shots open.

"Their game plan was not to give us 3's". They are driving the ball.

The shorter Tide also fought United Kingdom to a 44-44 standoff on the boards and got 16 offensive rebounds. They opened things up for Quickley and Hagans to get chances and allow Kentucky to finish 9 of 15 from long range and set the tone against a fast-paced Alabama squad.

"We broke down some, but we can block shots. We are long", Calipari said. "It's a good win". They are scoring 40 percent of their points from 3. I have never seen that.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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