After yet another ridiculous three by Bubba Parham with two and a half minutes left, the Cats needed a big bucket. Quade Green stepped up and delivered, hitting his third three of the night to push Kentucky’s lead to 13. The sophomore guard finished with 17 points, 2 assists, 2 steals and one turnover, which John Calipari said is proof he’s putting in the extra effort in practice.
“I think he’s really playing hard. He’s really defending, he’s trying. He has a knack offensively for making baskets. If you put it in his hands, he’ll normally — as long as it’s not against a set defense — if that ball moves and he gets it and it’s a two-man game, something good is going to happen. And late in the game, he’ll make a shot and he’ll make free throws. He’s proven that. He’s doing what we’re asking. He’s doing better every day. In practice right now, my guess is he’s working harder than anyone else.”
Associate head coach Kenny Payne agreed.
“In practice you can see it translating,” Payne told Tom Leach of Quade’s hard work. “Tonight, he had a spurt in the game where he was basically the difference.”
Quade’s hot hand from the outside was especially clutch considering the rest of the backcourt was so cold. Calipari didn’t hesitate to call out Tyler Herro and Immanuel Quickley out in his postgame press conference.
“I’m going to say it again, we should be a better three-point shooting team. We had two guys that I expect to make threes go 1-6. Immanuel and Tyler. That’s 1-6. I would expect them to make 4-6. It’s feeling comfortable and — Tyler, I was begging him the whole game to shoot. ‘They’re in the zone, man, shoot it. Catch it and get ready to shoot.’ But this is a process.”
Fellow veterans PJ Washington and Reid Travis led Kentucky in scoring with 22 and 19 points, respectively, but Calipari made sure to give Quade his due.
“Quade played really well. Quade’s playing good basketball right now. He really is.”