By LARRY VAUGHT
During the last four games, Kentucky has allowed opponents to average over 50 points in the second half and seemed to get to the basket at will.
Kentucky coach John Calipari has pleaded with his team to play better defense. So what weaknesses did LSU coach Johnny Jones find in UK’s defense the second half.
“I don’t think you would call it a weakness. I thought it was a strength of ours because we tried to space the floor against them tonight and they tried to lock down on our shooters, which they did a good job of especially in the first half. We only shot 37 percent in the first half because of the job that they did and didn’t give us easy looks,” Jones said.
“I thought we were better in the second half mixing it up, taking advantage of some things and getting to the rim was one of them because they took away our perimeter guys and were able to attack and get down hill. But I don’t think it was so much a weakness for them that were able to execute a little bit on the offensive end.
“We knew how certain things that they were switching. We wanted to do is just try to find some gaps in their defense and try to attack them. We were fortune enough when we did attack and they rotated right we made some pitch plays and some shots went down.”
Never mind that LSU has not been able to execute offensively against any other team like that this season.
So why did LSU shoot 62 percent in the second half?
“Believe me, I know. I watched it. I’ll tell you that with Bam (Adebayo), when he got a third foul, 94 feet from the basket, reaching for a ball he had no business (reaching for). He couldn’t have got it whether he knocked the guy over, kicked, tripped, whatever. He couldn’t have got the ball, but he fouled,” UK coach John Calipari said.
“Now he went back and didn’t want to guard because he didn’t want to get a fourth foul. If you can’t play with three fouls, then you can’t be in the game. They were shooting layups. He literally saw the guy coming and moved the other way, like, four times. But I felt better with him in there than playing some other guys, so… Let him learn from it. ”
Calipari said way too many defensive breakdowns, even for a young team.
“We have so many breakdowns, we don’t stay connected on out-of-bounds plays. Just stay connected and chase the inbound. We’ll help you. I get hung up on the screen, the guy gets a shot in the corner. Wait a minute, we work on that every day. Is that focus? Is that effort? Is that I’m just not very tough? I don’t know,” Calipari said.
“But we have those kind of errors. We’re playing pick-and-roll. Why did you do it? That’s not how we’re playing it. I thought… No, you’re trying to do it the easiest possible way. You can’t. We got Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to practice. Let’s see if we can just keep stepping up.”