‘You be that sniper.’ Maxey answers Cal’s call in UK win over Spartans.

5:40 A.m.
November 6, 2019
A.D.M



Nick Richards returned. The memory of last season’s opening-night loss to Duke faded further into irrelevance.
But freshman Tyrese Maxey’s coming out party was the story line of Kentucky’s 69-62 victory over No. 1 Michigan State on Tuesday in the Champions Classic in Madison Square Garden.
Maxey, who came off the bench, led UK with 26 points. That broke the opening-game record for a UK player in John Calipari’s 11 seasons as coach. Terrence Jones scored 25 against East Tennessee State to begin the 2010-11 season.

“I feel I played OK,” Maxey said. “I feel like I played to win.”
None of Maxey’s points were bigger than a three-pointer with 59.9 seconds left. A one-time 13-point UK lead was down to 62-60.
“I shot it a thousand times in high school,” Maxey said of the clutch basket. “I shot it a thousand times this summer. I have confidence in myself because I put in the work.”

In pointing out that a shot clock nearing zero forced Maxey to take the shot, Michigan State Tom Izzo said, “If it was a little earlier, Cal would have killed him.”
Joking aside, Izzo said of Maxey, “He’s a big-time player. There’s no question.”
Maxey, who turned 19 on Monday, answered Calipari’s call to take the initiative on offense. The UK coach said that idea contributed to the decision to bring Maxey off the bench.
“I didn’t start him because I told him, ‘I wanted you to come in firing,’” Calipari said. “… What I saw today is what I saw in high school. I have not seen it to this point. … Two days prior to this, all I talked about was, ‘You be that sniper.’”



Kentucky’s defensive effort made Michigan State’s offense labor much of the half. The Spartans had one basket in more than five minutes early, and didn’t reach double-digit points until Winston made two free throws with 11:06 left.
As the second half began, Michigan State took the initiative. A fast-break layup set up by an Ashton Hagans turnover reduced the lead to 34-28 and prompted a timeout with 18:08 left.
The fear of Hagans getting in early foul trouble guarding Winston did not materialize. Hagans’ first foul came with 17:18 to go.
Maxey and Hagans helped Kentucky blunt a Michigan State rally that reduced the lead to 39-36. Maxey hit a three-pointer. Then after a Michigan State turnover, Hagans fed a fast-break pass that a high-rising Richards dunked to put UK ahead 44-36.
A three-pointer by Kahlil Whitney put UK ahead 51-41. Then Sestina hit a three-pointer as a trailer. That gave Kentucky its largest lead, 54-41, and prompted a Michigan State timeout.
The Spartans reduced UK’s lead to 54-48. But then Winston picked up his fourth foul with 7:57 left. Sure Kentucky already has a lot to work on. For the first game Madison Square Garden versus the number one team in the nation I think they handle their business. College basketball is back people most importantly Kentucky basketball is back!
‘You be that sniper.’ Maxey answers Cal’s call in UK win over Spartans. ‘You be that sniper.’ Maxey answers Cal’s call in UK win over Spartans. Reviewed by Anson Moore on November 06, 2019 Rating: 5

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