By LARRY VAUGHT
Scoring points makes it a lot easier to win basketball games. That’s why Kentucky coach John Calipari finally decided maybe he was worried too much about defense and not enough about offense.
That’s why the lineup of Quade Green, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, P.J. Washington, Kevin Knox and Jarred Vanderbilt has turned out to be UK’s best group.
“When you have Quade out there you’ve got now Shai, Quade, you’ve got scorers, Kevin Knox. One of our issues was we weren’t scoring the ball and I just went back to, we’re worried about defense,” Calipari said after Tuesday’s win at Arkansas.
“Unless we hold teams to 32 points we can’t win. So let’s look at an offensive team and let’s see if we can get them to guard a little bit. Just guard somebody and I think we’re getting better.”
He’s right. Green especially has dramatically improved his defense and a healthy Vanderbilt alters shots and helps dominate the boards.
“We have to get some easy baskets and we have to fly. Now I’m going tell you, they get out on misses and makes as good as anybody the country and we worked for two days, throw it up and fly back, turn and run as fast as you can. Now I thought we did a pretty good job of that today,” Calipari said.
Washington says that lineup also has defensive versatility that made it hard for Arkansas to score in the final 10 minutes.
“We feel like we can switch every position, especially when it’s Shai and Wenyen with us also,” Washington said. “We feel like we can all guard the one through five so we try to do a good job.
“When they screen, we try to switch and then also on dribble handoffs we try to switch too. And we can all rebound. It’s great having us five out there on defense.”