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Keion Brooks, Johnny Juzang Pass Test at Arkansas

© Nelson Chenault | USATSI

© Nelson Chenault | USATSI

When Kentucky needed someone to step up down the stretch, Keion Brooks delivered.

While the Wildcats combatted foul trouble, the true freshman forward from Fort Wayne, Indiana played his best game to date. He scored 10 points and grabbed 7 rebounds. Most importantly, he never flinched when the game was still hanging in the balance.

“Those two free throws were big down the stretch,” said Tyrese Maxey. “He got big rebounds. He didn’t break down. Coach KP said, ‘He gone grow up today,’ and he did.”

Brooks’ two free throws were the final points UK scored in Fayetteville, icing any potential comeback by the Razorbacks. Sliding in for John Calipari, Kenny Payne used the opportunity to push Brooks to his limit.

“The whole time I’m telling Keion, you have to grow up today. I’m not taking you out. I need to know that you can get through this. I need to know that you’re taking a test; how are you going to do on this test? He passed,” Payne said.

“Super proud of him because he’s had a hard road, the pressure he’s been on to perform is a lot, the game is coming at him fast. He stood up and came through for us. A big game for him today.”

He wasn’t the only role player that provided big minutes for the Cats. In 17 minutes of action Johnny Juzang scored five points and knocked down a huge three-pointer, his first since Nov. 29.

“Big shots, he hit a pull-up and a big three. He played solid defensively. I think everybody is coming together,” recalled Maxey. “I have the ultimate faith in Johnny. As soon as he shot it, I was probably one of the first ones up on the bench yelling ‘YEAH!’ I’m proud of him.”

Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

16 Comments for Keion Brooks, Johnny Juzang Pass Test at Arkansas

  1. syrin23
    9:17 pm January 18, 2020 Permalink

    EJ and Sestina need more bench time for Brooks and Juziang. Not seeing development out of EJ or Sestina

    • KentuckyRob
      9:49 pm January 18, 2020 Permalink

      Yeah, I agree. Brooks and Juzang both seem to be coming out of their shell and are playing with energy. They just need more playing time. I HATE seeing EJ struggle, but he just doesn’t “get it”.

    • satcheluk
      11:40 am January 19, 2020 Permalink

      Not sure I’m ready to go that far after one game with what can be described as a decent effort.

    • Johnny C
      2:53 pm January 19, 2020 Permalink

      Agree completely. Sorry to say that I’m really disappointed with Nate and EJ. I don’t blame them, they just don’t seem capable.

  2. 4everUKBlue
    9:28 pm January 18, 2020 Permalink

    Very happy for those two young men.

  3. JT55
    9:40 pm January 18, 2020 Permalink

    I’ll admit, I thought they had 0 chance to win. I still think they’re flawed, but this is a nice surprise.

    • michaelb
      10:32 pm January 18, 2020 Permalink

      Every team is flawed, just enjoy the season

  4. Righteous1
    11:25 pm January 18, 2020 Permalink

    I like this team but their head coach is not utilizing their length and athleticism. The last 8 minutes proves that. The assistant coaches changed to a zone on defense and inside to outside plays. They looked totally different the last 8 minutes. I was hoping to see a full court press, but maybe Cal can get ejected earlier next game so we can see it.

  5. bigblue2018
    8:01 am January 19, 2020 Permalink

    So Righteous1 more or less feels UK would be better off than the coach who has won more games than any other D1 coach in the last 10 years. The only reason UK went to a zone was our foul trouble. Believe it or not (which the percentage of UK fans who know it all, won’t) the team had worked on the zone going into the game as Cal had planned on using it. Arkansas’s 2 leading scorers had been shut down the whole game, not just the last 8 minutes. I love UK but reading post from that small percentage of UK fans who gripe about everything, know it all and never happy with a win no matter where, who or what makes it hard to enjoy reading websites such as this. I had a friend who lives in Arkansas, is a HOGS fan and has season tickets. There were two UK fans sitting behind him who complained the entire game, talked about all our players like they were garbage and pretty cheered when Coach Cal got ejected. He turned around and asked them if they were really UL fans posing as CATS fans? I told him there’s some of those in Rupp who never cheer, they go to sit and complain about players and coaches. I told him I was sorry and hoped they didn’t ruin his game experience but I was confident all fan bases have a percentage of idiots.

    • 4everUKBlue
      8:29 am January 19, 2020 Permalink

      bigblue, you’re so right, what were these fans saying during the Tubby and BCG years, they complain because Cal has been more successful by far and it’s that success that has spoiled them. Those fans are just miserable in life in general, never happy about anything, I pity those poor fools because Cal is here until he’s ready to leave. Go Cats!

    • nocode96
      11:32 am January 19, 2020 Permalink

      That’s because R1 is an idiot. No mystery here. We all know which folks around here are really awful, and he’s one of the worst.

  6. bigblue2018
    8:53 am January 19, 2020 Permalink

    Yes sir, life is way too short to live in such misery. I lost my wife of 33 years in 2015 during the 38-1 season, she had high blood pressure but didn’t know it and had a stroke. She was in ICU from Jan 12 until passing on the morning of Feb 12. I remember the first game we were able to watch together (she loved the CATS) was the LSU game when KAT got the T and Cal goes off on him. The nurse came in and said it was time for her bath, she couldn’t talk anymore but we were able to communicate other ways and I told them she said not until after the game. I’ll never forget it but also I didn’t take that Wisconsin loss as bad as a lot of UK fans, it really failed in comparison to another loss that year. It taught me not to take things for granted and to enjoy life everyday, we don’t have a promise of tomorrow. She was 50 and I’m a little older as was 55, we had lots of plans going forward but all that changed in the blink of an eye. I just wish fans would enjoy the seasons for what they are, understand these are 17-21 year old young people preforming at a level none of us has ever had to do at anything. So they miss a shot, don’t grab a rebound or they let someone score on them, if you’re real lucky you’ll still see the sun rise tomorrow morning. Relax and enjoy the games and season for what they are, I only wish I was able to enjoy these games with her again and show her how relaxed I could be while the CATS are up or down.

    • 4everUKBlue
      9:16 am January 19, 2020 Permalink

      I’m so sorry for your loss bigblue and thanks for putting things in perspective. I agree with you 100%.

  7. clarks
    12:12 pm January 19, 2020 Permalink

    Sorry for your loss big blue. I’m with you though it’s not the teams that have everything figured out in December that wins it. It’s the teams that continue to grow and get better and are hitting on all cylinders until late Feb or march. The Brandon knight team lost like first 8 road games or something crazy before they broke through

  8. bigblue2018
    1:06 pm January 19, 2020 Permalink

    You’re so right clarks, I don’t understand why people can’t understand how special it is to win a title. I just googled and seen that there’s 350 D1 NCAA men’s basketball team. There’s been 80 championships since 1939, 59 of those titles have been won by 15 schools, 45 by 8 different schools, which leaves 21 other programs that’s won 1 championship each. Only 36 programs out of 350 has won a title. Why can’t that small percentage of UK fans not understand what a special season it is to win a title. The CATS have 8, it’s easy to say in my lifetime they should’ve won a title in 1966, 1970, 1975, 1984, 1993, 1997 ,2003, 2010, 2011, 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2019. Hard to believe but that’s the facts, UK could’ve easily won 13 more titles. Wouldn’t that be something if the CATS would have 21 of the 80 championships. The bracket you draw, an injury (Mike Casey, Bogans, Poythress to name a few), foul trouble, officials or players getting sick. My point is there’s a lot of luck to cutting down the nets besides having a great team, it’s no where the case that the best team wins the title, just think of 2 of UCONN’S titles. Rupp was 25-0 at the end of the 1954 season but didn’t accept invitation to NCAA’s because some of our players who had served in the military were not going to be allowed to play, that team won all 25 games by an average of 27.1 pts. Then add in the times between 1939-1947 The CATS played in or won the NIT which was bigger at the time or was runner up in the NCAA’s. 90% of the NCAA’s D1 teams that’s never won a title and we’ve had the chance to play for or win 25-30 of them should feel blessed to root for the best basketball team of all-time.