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Darn right it is fair to say perimeter shooting is not UK’s strength

Immanuel Quickley missed a 3 to tie Wednesday’s game but impressed coach John Calipari with his willingness to take the shot. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

LAS VEGAS — Late in Wednesday’s 69-66 win over Kentucky, Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak had his team go into a zone defense.

He had seen others teams do that against Kentucky, including Georgia Tech last week that played nothing bu zone.

“We knew we could not play zone the whole game but I thought it threw them a little bit of a curve ball,” the Utah coach said. “To this point, I think it’s fair to say perimeter shooting has not been their strength.”

You think?

Kentucky was 2-for-17 from 3-point range against Utah, including two misses in the final 10 seconds by Tyrese Maxey and Immanuel Quickley that could have forced overtime.

For the season, Kentucky is 41 of 161 — 25.5 percent — from 3-point range. Kentucky opponents are hitting 32 percent (72 of 225). Quickley is UK’s best percentage shooter (.333) and also has the most makes (10). Maxey has dropped to 22.9 percent and only has eight treys in nine games. Ashton Hagans has made seven treys and is hitting 31.8 percent — probably a higher mark than most expected.

Still, Krystkowiak admitted Utah was having trouble defending Hagans in the pick-and-roll. He said the zone was not to “dare” UK to take 3-pointers even though his players said that was the exact plan. However, he wanted the zone to keep UK out of the paint and see if the Cats could hit from long range — which they could not.

“We’ve had these issues. This is who we are sometimes,” Calipari said after the game about his team’s 3-point shooting. “There are games when we shoot the 3 good and when we don’t, we’re 2-for-17. We need to make six of seven 3’s a game. But you can’t go 1-for-12, 2-for-15. We’ve had guys miss nine in a row who are good shooters.

“We had 17, all good looks, and probably five of them were air balls. I don’t have the answer, I wish I did. I believe we have good shooters. They may be timid right now. I mean, pulling up and not close to the rim. What’s in your mind? We’ve got to fix some of that.”

Hagans, who was 0-for-4 from 3 against Utah, said the team had open shots but just missed them.

“We just have to keep getting in the gym and keeping shooting shots. Quick missed some big shots and he’s one of our best shooters. Tyrese did. I did.”

Everybody did and that was a problem. However, Calipari did like that Quickley, who finished the game 0-for-4 from 3, asked to take the last shot to try and force overtime.

“At the last timeout, Immanuel said, ‘Get it for me,’” Calipari said. “He missed it, but what I’m happy about is that he wanted it. That’s the first step. You cannot be afraid to miss the game-winner.

“Now you come back to me the next game with three seconds left in the game and you say, ‘Get me the last shot.’”

Hagans was glad Quickley wanted to take the shot even if he missed.

“He is in the gym every day. He is knocking down big shots for us every game,” Hagans said. “He missed some big shots but he wanted it. We went to him and he almost hit it.”

7 comments

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  1. Calipari, “oh well, it is who we are.”

    If you are not going to follow your own advice that any team without a true post presence is a pretender, then you must recruit and keep players on the roster who can shoot from outside.

    Without either, you are worse than a pretender, you are a fraud. At least pretenders may actually believe his own BS, but a fraud knows it is complete BS

    1. Sounds pretty accurate to me. More and more of BBN will stop drinking the Koolaid that Calipari has been serving as this season unravels. Calipari has painted himself into this corner. A mess will be made before he gets out of the room. The real question is who will be the one to come in and clean up his mess?

      1. Mr. Spartan is back. He went back on his word. Now he won’t shut up.

        1. Pupster….just read that CBS Sports does not have UK in their 68 team tourney bracket…do you think it was just 1 game? LOL

          1. We’ll see. I won’t lose any sleep one way or the other. UK has a good team no matter what you cry babies say. If at the end of the season, and UK falls flat, I’ll still cheer em on, this ain’t life or death to me. If they win it all or advance deep in the big dance, I will declare open season on your A$$. Take my last challenge oh gutless one.

  2. You know Professor, I’ve almost always found your posts to be solid and mostly on target…this post, however, doesn’t seem to read normally like you?? I certainly respect your opinion and always look forward to your conclusions, however, this is pretty strong wording coming from you. This “who we are” team right now is, IMHO, ‘inconsistent, not overly talented as in the past, with no go to outstanding ‘killer type’ players’. I don’t look for this team to do much this year, however, I don’t think this makes Cal a fraud. Keep posting Professor, since I respect and enjoy your prospective even if we differ slightly.

  3. Looks like we got three peas in a pod. The Calipari haters. Calling a coach like John Calipari a fraud on this site is laughable. These three won’t like the next guy either. The three? Take a guess UK fans. They are easy to pick out. Only problem is, they would have to get MB to agree with their assessment of the bad job Coach is doing.

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