Tyrese Maxey - the latest in what seems to be a never-ending parade of five-star recruits attracted to Kentucky by coach John Calipari - was a big shot at the World's Most Famous Arena in his first college game. After delivering on the national stage, Maxey makes his local debut when the No. 2 Wildcats host Eastern Kentucky on Friday.
Maxey scored a game-high 26 points, including a decisive 3-pointer from well behind the line, in Kentucky's 69-62 victory over No. 1 Michigan State on Tuesday in the Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden. "Great intangibles," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo told reporters about Maxey, a 6-3 guard from Garland, Texas. "He's got a feel. He's kind of happy-go-lucky but plays hard. He's got a smile on his face." The Wildcats' Kahlil Whitney, another five-star recruit, also made his debut and the 6-6 forward contributed four points and four rebounds in 22 minutes. The Colonels on Tuesday opened their season with a 79-68 victory over Chattanooga behind 18 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks from junior forward Darius Hicks, who transferred after playing 166 minutes at North Carolina State from 2016-18.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, SEC Network
ABOUT EASTERN KENTUCKY (1-0): All-OVC preseason selection Jomaru Brown, a sophomore guard, scored 14 points against Chattanooga after averaging 14.4 points last season en route to claiming a spot on the All-OVC Newcomer of the Year team. Sophomore guard Houston King scored a career-high 19 points Tuesday and was 4-for-5 from 3-point range. Sophomore forward Tre King - no relation - contributed nine points versus Chattanooga after averaging six points in 18.5 minutes last season.
ABOUT KENTUCKY (1-0): Maxey, who also had five rebounds in 32 minutes, came off the bench with Calipari telling reporters: "I didn't start him because I told him I wanted (him) to come in firing. I want you to watch what's happening, and you get in there, and you let it go." Sophomore point guard Ashton Hagans held his own against Michigan State All-American Cassius Winston with 11 points and three assists. Sophomore guard Immanuel Quickley on Tuesday recorded 10 points, five rebounds and two steals while forward Nate Sestina, a graduate transfer from Bucknell, added seven points and six rebounds.
1. Wildcats junior F Nick Richards, who missed Kentucky's 83-51 exhibition victory over Kentucky State on Friday with a sprained ankle, had seven points and four rebounds in 25 minutes before fouling out against Michigan State.
2. The Colonels were voted to finish ninth in the Ohio Valley Conference preseason poll after going 13-18, 6-12 OVC last season.
3. Kentucky is 74-0 under Calipari when holding its opponent to 55 points or fewer.