Coming off a major victory over the No. 1 team in the country, the University of Kentucky will need to refocus getting ready for Eastern Kentucky University of Friday night.

UK beat Michigan State 69-62 in the Champions Classic that helped start the basketball season Tuesday night in Madison Square Garden.

The Wildcats won't be under quite the same spotlight going against EKU.

UK coach John Calipari said he had no idea if his team would be focused at the start of this run of games over the next few weeks against lower-level opponents.

"When you're coaching young guys, you don't know," Calipari said. "But look, we're coming off a game where people who watched it are saying, 'Did you see their energy? Did you see their spirit? Did you see how hard they play?' Well, just be that team. We gotta do the same this game."

There should be an excited welcome home to Rupp Arena for the Wildcats in light of that win. Tyrese Maxey was the star of that game offensively. Ashton Hagans was the leader defensively. Immanuel Quickley showed his value and gave UK a glimpse of an effective 3-guard lineup.

Somewhat lost in all that were the contributions of Nate Sestina and Nick Richards against the Spartans.

Sestina scored seven points and had a team-high six rebounds against Michigan State as a starter who played 31 minutes. He also nailed a big 3-pointer in the second half.

See Wildcats/Page B2

"I called the coaches at Bucknell and thanked them and said you did a great job with this kid (Sestina)," UK coach John Calipari told media in Lexington on Thursday.

Mostly, Sestina talked a lot defensively and played with energy throughout the game.

"I have a lot of energy," Sestina said. "The shot that I hit at the top of the key just kind of, I got to show that a little bit. I play with a lot of emotion all of the time."

Richards was coming off a sprained ankle and he had a notable defensive moment when he chased Cassius Winston off a screen and forced a turnover against the Michigan State All-American guard.

"When I watched it, he came up and moved, got back to his own man and the people behind scrambled," Calipari said. "Everybody is talking about how we defended. You all know we do no defense in the summer. None. We are not in a stance. We are not working on pick-and-roll. We are doing no defense. We are not doing any defense until we do our first practice."

Richards played 25 minutes, scored seven points and grabbed four rebounds before fouling out.

(0) entries

Sign the guestbook.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.