Photo by Keyli Chisesi (Go Big Blue Country)
ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI.,
Kentucky sophomore forward Wenyen Gabriel is a vital piece to Kentucky’s success and he’s proving it during the Wildcats run in the SEC tournament, which continued with a semifinals win vs. Alabama on Saturday.
Gabriel has been shooting the ball much better for the Wildcats as he has knocked down at least one three-point attempt in seven consecutive games but his stroke in St. Louis makes Kentucky a different team.
Through two games at the SEC tournament, Gabriel has connected on 9-of-11 three-point attempts, including a 7-for-7 performance in a win vs. Alabama. Everytime Kentucky needed a bucket, Gabriel was standing in the corner ready to release.
“I’m playing with a ton of confidence man, just letting it fly,” said Gabriel. “This may be the last time we play as this team, together.”
It was a day to remember for Gabriel and one that will go down in the UK record books. The sophomore’s seven made three’s broke the record for most made three’s in an SEC tournament game (Travis Ford six), something Gabriel says he didn’t even know about until he hit the locker room.
“I didn’t even know it was until after the game. It will take a little while until it all sets in, maybe I should’ve shot another three.”
Gabriel knocking down shots for Kentucky is huge but even though he is only a sophomore, it’s his veteran presence that this team needs in postseason play. As for what he tells the guys in the locker room, the message is to just fight.
“I told them lets just fight, that’s the main thing with us. If we play hard, we’re hard to beat. We have all the talent in the world.”
The UK sophomore was in a zone today and he’s had those performances at other levels but even he admits that something was different today at Scottrade Center.
“Back in high school and AAU, I’ve shot like that before but tonight was something different. It felt like I couldn’t miss.”
Gabriel will look to keep it rolling tomorrow in the SEC tournament championship game vs. the winner of Tennessee/Arkansas. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m. ET/Noon CT. with coverage on ESPN.