Hamidou Diallo was spectacular in Kentucky’s win over Buffalo on Saturday. Diallo was so good, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, the team’s leading scorer with 27 points, said Kentucky would be going home if not for how Diallo played.
“Personally, I don’t think we win tonight without Hami,” Gilgeous-Alexander said after the game. “He played huge for us down the stretch. We went to him a little bit in a set, and he had like four baskets in a row that were really big. He works really hard, and when you work hard, good things are going to happen for you.”
Diallo scored 22 points, the most he’s had since he went for 23 in the Garden back in December, and 18 of those 22 came in the second half on 7-of-8 shooting from the field. But it wasn’t just the scoring he provided that helped his team win, Diallo also had eight strong rebounds and two big blocks on the defensive end. He did it all, which led Kevin Knox to say, “That’s the Hamidou we need for the rest of the tournament.”
Quade Green added, “He’s the best defender in the country if he’s locked in like that.”
If that version of Hamidou Diallo continues to show up, Kentucky is as good as anyone in the tournament.