By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky didn’t get a field goal the final seven minutes of play and had only five field goals — three by Ashton Hagans — in the second half of Tuesday night’s win at Missouri.
Kentucky sophomore PJ Washington had just three points the second half after getting 15 in the first half. However, Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin said this to his team before the start of the second half: “Got to stop PJ. He is doing everything right now.”
Missouri did just that by double teaming Washington almost every time he touched the basketball.
“They trapped him, crowded him. He threw the right pass. A couple more times he tried to shoot but I told him if they were double teaming him, let other guys shoot.”
One would think more teams will be doing that. He was named the Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week on Tuesday by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association after leading the Wildcats to a 17-point victory over then No. 1 Tennessee.
Washington is the fifth Wildcat to win the honor since its inception in 2009-10, joining Kevin Knox, Malik Monk, Julius Randle and Doron Lamb. ESPN reporter Laura Rutledge reported during Tuesday’s game that Calipari broke the news to his team at practice before the game.
Washington averaged 21.5 points per game in two games last week against top-25 ranked teams. He has now scored in double figures in 11 straight games and is averaging 21 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.3 blocks and 1.1 steals per game. He’s averaging 16.6 points, 7.4 rebounds and shooting 54.3 percent from the field in Kentucky’s seven games vs. Associated Press Top 25 opponents.
“It is so hard to take him out of the game because if you take away one part, he has a counter to it,” ESPN analyst Jimmy Dykes said about Washington. “He’s just playing great.”
Yes he is and that’s why Kentucky better get ready to see more teams double teaming Washington the rest of the season.