Back on Jan. 7, Kentucky point guard Ashton Hagans headed home to take on the Georgia Bulldogs with a point to prove. After finishing with 23 points in his first homecoming game as a freshman, the sophomore guard – who was questionable going into the matchup with a left ankle sprain – came out firing his second time back in Athens, taking ten shots in the first half alone. He would finish with with 13 points, five assists, and four steals in 36 minutes, but to say he was a little amped up would be an understatement.
He could’ve fallen off a bridge and it wouldn’t have mattered,” Immanuel Quickley said of Hagans after the game. “He wasn’t missing [that] game.”
This time around, though, Hagans is ready to take on the Bulldogs calm, cooled, collected, and healthy.
“I was at home,” Hagans said during a media opportunity this afternoon. “I had a lot of people there, so it was like, dang, let me try to do something for the fam. But I came out the second half, slowed it down a little bit. I (am not) going to be doing any of that tomorrow. I’m going to sticking to the game plan, getting my teammates involved, stuff like that. I’m just trying to come out there and get the win.”
Now, it’s all about taking home another victory, regardless of opponent.
“We played them one time already. It was a good game,” Hagans said. “It was good to be back at home, but now we’re back in Lexington playing them. It’s the same game plan. We just go out there and play our game, stick together and try to get the win.”
While the coaching staff wanted to cool Hagans off a little bit down in Athens, they appreciate that he brings an edge to the floor, regardless of opponent.
“No. No, that’s part of his edge,” UK assistant coach Tony Barbee said. “He’s got a competitive spirit like no other regardless of who we play. He’s always going to come on the floor with that same edge. And I don’t think it’s any different just because it’s Georgia, but obviously being from there, it’s not going to raise him any higher than he already gets on that court.”
Through the ups and downs, Hagans appreciates the support (and leeway) the coaching staff gives him to find his groove on the floor.
As a result, he’ll continue to show fight.
“I think [Calipari] really just knows that no matter what I’m going to go out there and fight against whoever it is, with whoever it is,” Hagans said. “Whatever goes down, I’m behind anybody.”