By LARRY VAUGHT
How often does John Calipari mention that an opponent might be red-hot from 3-point range and there will be nothing Kentucky can do but learn from the loss?
Well, VMI certainly was on fire from 3-point range — 19-for-38 and starting the game 6-for-9 — but Kentucky still won 92-82 because VMI had no answers inside for the Cats.
Reid Travis (22 points, six rebounds) and P.J. Washington (19 points, 18 rebounds) dominated the paint where Kentucky had a 42-14 advantage. Kentucky’s bench also was dominant as it outscored VMI 50-9.
However, the star of the game was VMI sophomore guard Bubba Parham. He went 10-for-16 from 3-point range and had 35 points, four assists and three rebounds in 38 incredible minutes. He hit shots from everywhere — shots when he was open, shots when he just pulled up before he got even close to the 3-point line and shots that were heavily contested.
Kentucky had no answer for him. None.
“I saw a few go in early and my teammates found me and I was able to knock them down,” Parham, who described his shot as a “rainbow shot,” said.
He hit one shot falling down that left UK guard Quade Green shaking his head and laughing as they headed back down the court.
“He said when I released it there was no way it was going in,” Parham laughed and said.
He even admitted he could hear his mother yelling from the front row when he kept making shot after shot.
VMI coach Dan Earl said Parham was “outstanding” in what was still an understatement.
“This guy (Parham) went crazy. He had the hot hand but he also sprayed (passed) the ball. He played a great all-around game,” Earl said. “Credit to Kentucky. They killed us offensive rebounds. We fouled them a ton (29 of 35 from the foul line) and they made them. They had a size advantage and pounded us on the boards (43-22).”
Kentucky coach John Calipari said Parham made “crazy” shots. He was more impressed with how his team played against VMI’s zone defense.
“The second half I think we got tired. They were running us around,” Calipari said. “It wasn’t just one kid making shots. They made 19 (3’s). We started trapping late and fans were looking at me like, ‘Why weren’t you trapping this kid?’ I guess we should.
“We shot 50 percent and only had 11 turnovers. We did some good stuff. We had 18 offensive rebounds. There was some good except they went crazy on the 3’s.”
Kentucky sophomore guard Quade Green had 17 points on 5-for-10 shooting along with three assists and two rebounds. He also had just one turnover in 27 minutes.
“Quade is playing good basketball right now. He is really playing hard. He is defending, trying. He has a knack offensively for making baskets,” Calipari said. “If that ball moves and he gets it, something good is going to happen. And late in a game, he will make a shot and make free throws. He has proven that. He is doing what we are asking. In practice right now, my guess is he is working harder than anyone else.”
Calipari said his team doesn’t have the discipline it needs yet and despite VMI’s hot shooting, there were times UK’s defense did not pressure shooters enough.
“The biggest thing is if we do what we normally do and they take 38 3’s, they will make 10 and we will get runouts and scores,” Calipari said.