By LARRY VAUGHT
Wofford senior Fletcher Magee thinks there were a couple of games this year where he didn’t make a 3-pointer — but he’s not sure.
However, Saturday against Kentucky he went 0-for-12 from 3-point range to set a NCAA record most 3’s taken in a game without a make. Considering he’s the NCAA all-time leader in 3-pointers made with 509, that was a testament to UK’s defense or just a really off night for Magee.
“I mean, it’s incredibly disappointing. I feel like if I make three of those shots, we win the game. You know, a lot of them were good shots, and just — they didn’t go in,” Magee said after Kentucky’s 62-56 win. “You know, sometimes you shoot the ball just how you think you’re going to shoot it and it feels good and looks good and just doesn’t go in. Just one of those days.”
The Wofford star also gave Kentucky’s defense credit for his shooting woes — he was 4-for-17 overall and had eight points.
“They played pretty good defense as far as topping me and trying to deny me the ball and not come off screens and stuff. But a lot of schools have done that. A lot of teams have done that to me before, and we’ve found ways to get around it,” Magee said. “I feel like we got a decent amount of quality looks, and we didn’t knock them down. I think some of it definitely was their good defense, and mainly a lot of it was just me being off my shot.”
Kentucky freshman point guard Ashton Hagans said the Cats knew Magee was a “great” shooter who could light up any defense if given time.
“The game plan was just make him make a basketball play, put it on the floor. That’s what we was trying to do. Tyler (Herro) did a great job of talking to me when he wanted to switch, but you know, for us to be at our best, we’ve just got to talk and be for one another,” Hagans said.
Kentucky coach John Calipari said the Cats were not going under screens to give Magee or any Wofford players easy looks.
“The bigs were going to help as long as they had to. We hoped our length would bother them,” Calipari said.
The UK coach said his players understood they couldn’t let up or Magee and his teammates would make them pay. He put Herro on Magee often even though he worried about doing that.
“I didn’t want to wear him out because we need his offense because PJ is not playing. So we need to go to him and get him to make some baskets. But if he’s running around with Magee, running in circles, running out, dribble hand-off, get being bumped, screen down, we’ll do that, like every possession, do it 12 straight possessions. It’s like being an offensive lineman in football,” Calipari said.
“And so I worried about it, but he said, ‘Coach, I’ll be fine.’ Well, obviously probably took away from his shots and he missed some shots that we’ve all seen him make.”