As he so often does, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was the one to light a fire under Kentucky tonight. When nothing else worked, Shai went to work, pulling Kentucky out of a fourteen-point deficit in the second half to force overtime. Shai finished with a career-high 30 points, 22 in the second half, which Kenny Payne said is proof the freshman has what it takes to will the Cats to victory.
“For that kid to come out and fight the way that he did for us to win says a lot about him,” Payne said in the postgame presser. “There was adversity throughout the game for him, but he kept fighting.”
Shai’s biggest strength is getting to the basket, and on a night when the Cats were suffering from a Morgantown hangover, he took matters into his own hands.
“All year, he’s been really good at getting in the lane,” Payne said. “We chart lane touches, and every game, he’s our number one guy that touches the lane. He’s a really good player. He’s hungry. He’s a high-character kid who comes to work every day and smiles. He’s the example of why you come to this school to develop and learn and be the best.”
Quade Green may have hit the game-winner, but let it be known that Shai was the reason Kentucky stayed in the game at all. The backcourt brothers embraced in the locker room afterwards:
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) January 31, 2018
Let me hear you, BBN: