By LARRY VAUGHT
Three-point taking pictures figured to find out the result of Saturday’s Kentucky-Virginia Tech recreation.
It did — however simply not the best way most anticipated.
It was Kentucky freshman Hamidou Diallo who changed into Hamidou Three-allo Saturday in Rupp Area. He went Four-for-7 from Three-point vary (he was 6-for-19 from Three-point vary coming into the sport) and completed with 20 factors, 5 rebounds and two assists in UK’s 93-86 win. It was his second straight 20-point recreation and fourth straight with 19 or extra video games.
“He’s taking pictures significantly better,” coach John Calipari mentioned. “He’s working at it. I like Hami away from the ball as a secondary scorer as a result of he will get baskets there in addition to anyone.”
Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams mentioned it was extra that UK made 11 Three-pointers greater than Diallo making 4.
“I believe he’s an excellent participant. We weren’t taking part in particular to at least one participant. If it was a expertise contest, they win each recreation,” Williams mentioned. “If we performed once more tomorrow, and I do know we’re not, I’d do the very same factor. They made extra Three’s than they’ve all 12 months and that was the gamble.”
Kentucky wanted that kind of offense as a result of the Hokies shot 58.2 p.c (32-for-55) from the sector — the second finest taking pictures efficiency by a UK opponent within the John Calipari period.
“If we didn’t flip them over, they win the sport. In the event that they don’t flip it over (19 occasions), they beat us. The performed unfastened with nothing to lose,” Calipari mentioned.
The Hokies made six straight pictures late within the recreation when UK had an 80-73 lead however Calipari’s Cats had sufficient offense to carry on for the win. Kentucky shot 48.5 p.c general (33-for-68) and was 11-for-22 from Three.
“They (Tech) are a quick group. We’re extra of a post-up group. The minute you lure, it ought to open up our shooters,” Calipari mentioned. “That’s the place we received most of our Three’s.”
Kevin Knox, coming off a 1-for-9 taking pictures efficiency in UK’s earlier recreation, was 7-for-16 from the sector however had eight of UK’s factors in a 10-Zero second-half run when the Cats trailed 51-44. He completed with 21 factors, 5 rebounds and two assists. It was his fourth 20-point recreation of the season.
Quade Inexperienced, regardless of taking part in with sunglass/goggles to guard his injured eye, had 17 factors and 5 assists.
“He’s taking part in the best way I need him to play which is rating baskets. However by doing that he’s getting 5 assists and one turnover. He’s both attempting to attain or for those who cease him, he’ll give it to someone as a result of he’s a great passer.
P.J. Washington was simply Four-for-10 from the sector however hit a key Three-pointer late within the recreation and completed with 11 factors, 5 rebounds and 5 assists. Wenyen Gabriel had seven factors and 9 rebounds.
Calipari mentioned UK’s press, which he put on this week, is one he used years in the past. But it surely offers UK a option to pace up play and disrupt groups.
“I can not stand giving up baskets. I need all of them contested. If you’re doing this, you may have slightly completely different mentality. Let’s be the aggressor. If we let Virginia Tech be the aggressor, we lose this recreation,” Calipari mentioned. “What I’ve realized is that if you’re taking part in a urgent group, you press them.”
Tech’s Justin Williams mentioned the press bothered the Hokies initially.
“General it was a great check and good street expertise for us. We play in the perfect convention, so no awe in taking part in Kentucky,” Williams mentioned. “They simply hit open pictures which is what a great group ought to do.”
Virginia Tech used a demoralizing 15-2 run within the first half after UK had hit three straight Three’s to take a 37-32 lead. The Hokies have been 18 of 29 from the sector within the first half, together with 7-for-12 from Three-point vary, and led 47-41 at half.
Calipari informed gamers if they didn’t run via screens to get to Three-point shooters, they’d not play. Kentucky restricted Tech to a few Three-pointers within the second half.
Kentucky’s offense was not shabby within the first half. Kentucky was 16 of 35 from the sector, together with 7-for-13 on Three’s, and had 10 assists. However the Cats couldn’t cease the Hokies who proved why their quick previous and Three-point shot has made them the nation’s prime scoring group this season.
Calipari nonetheless believes his group goes to be significantly better because the season continues.
“These youngsters are actually good gamers and are going to have skilled careers. I don’t know who’s watching to assume they aren’t,” Calipari mentioned. “What they’ve is particular. The query turns into is once we are fatigued, how will we play. That’s why this recreation was vital for us.
“All people is aware of we’re taking part in all freshmen. I wager you that is the youngest group within the final 30 years to to try to compete for one thing. We’re getting respect. We’re. This group wanted this type of schedule. We try to be taught who we’re. I coach at Kentucky. There aren’t any excuses right here. All I fear about is how do I get particular person gamers higher.”