Immanuel Quickley totals a career-high in points in win over Mizzou


Kentucky sophomore guard Immanuel Quickley looks for a path to the basket during the game against Missouri on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020, at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 71-59. Photo by Jordan Prather | Staff

If it wasn’t Nick Richards scoring, it was most likely Immanuel Quickley– the two combined for 44 points in UK’s 71-59 win over Missouri, garnering a career night for Quickley in the making. 

Quickley’s 23 points were a career high, which also featured a career-high four 3-pointers and he now leads the team in shots made beyond the arc with 18. His previous career high in points was in Kentucky’s last game, when he notched 18 against Louisville. 

“Just been spending extra time in the gym,” Quickley said. “Appreciate these guys, they’ve been giving me the confidence to play great. My teammates find me a great spot so, just. little bit of everything combined.”

Since the team hasn’t been in school the past few weeks, Quickley says he’s been getting to the gym more often. You might say it’s been paying off for the sophomore guard. 

“I actually worked out once at like, 12 a.m. and still can get a lot of sleep because we don’t practice until later in the day, so that’s been helping me,” Quickley said. “Just really working with my coaches, staying in the gym and staying hungry.”

A few of Quickley’s shots Saturday against the Tigers were big transition plays in big moments. His first points of the game were a go-ahead transition three-pointer off the assist from Ashton Hagans, giving the Cats a 19-17 lead over the Tigers with 8:14 to go in the half. He hit another off the fast break just a few minutes later and gave UK its largest lead of the game up until that point. 

“We do a drill at the end of practices where we shoot in transition,” graduate transfer forward Nate Sestina said. “Everybody’s legs are tired of running up and down for hours during practice and that’s the last thing you do and he makes fifteen in a row most of the time, it’s actually pretty incredible and he’s our go-to guy at the end of the games when legs are tired. We understand and trust that he is going to make those shots.”

Another major factor of Quickley’s game lately has been free throw shooting– against the Tigers, he was a perfect 9-of-9 from the line and has made 24 straight free throws dating back to the Lamar game on Nov. 24. That’s the longest streak since now-Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro made 38 straight from Feb. 16 to March 29 last season. In total, Herro made 87-of-93 shots from the line for a school-record 93.5 percent, while Quickley has made 46-of-48 so far this season for 95.8 percent.

While he says the two do talk often, they haven’t discussed the fact that Quickley is right on Herro’s heels when it comes to the free throw record. 

“If I can get it (the free throw record) that’s great, if not, hopefully I can just keep closing my eyes and knocking them down,” Quickley said.