Can UK exploit Vandy’s inside defense?

P.J. Washington has been UK’s best inside option in the last three games. (Jeff Houchin Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

It would seem logical to think that Kentucky will want to get the ball inside against Vanderbilt in Saturday afternoon’s game in Nashville.

The Commodores (6-10, 1-3 SEC) have been outscored 140-96 in the paint in four Southeastern Conference games as 6-10 sophomore center Djery Baptiste and 6-8 sophomore Clevon Brown have often been overmatched inside.

Grant Williams of Tennessee had a career-high 37 points against Vanderbilt this week. The game before South Carolina center Chris Silva had 27.

Kentucky (13-3, 3-1 SEC) has plenty of length around the rim but not a prolific scorer even though freshman forward P.J. Washington has turned into UK’s best post threat the last three games.

“They trap the post and they do a really good job. I watched South Carolina, at South Carolina, and they trapped as that ball was in the air and really gave South Carolina trouble,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said Friday.

“They have some different things they do, and they also go zone, so it’s not like you just throw it in and you beat them. That’s not what’s happened. And I want to tell you, you watch the Tennessee game, they did not trap (Grant) Williams in the first half. Not once. And they were up 10.

“Now, they chose to trap him in the second half. Now, he didn’t score all his points in the first half. He had a ton of points in the second half. So, you’re just going to play the game. They’ll play us zone. There are times they’ve trapped us, and there are other times that they haven’t. We’ll just have to see.”

Calipari said it will be a “hard game” again at Vanderbilt.

“They space the court, they play different. They play a wide-open court. They’ll shoot 3s. They’re driving the ball. The big kid (Djery Baptiste) is playing well for them, so they have someone next to the goal,” Calipari said.

“It’s a different team because they don’t have a five man shooting 3s like they have in the past, which really made things hard. But they’re still a team and in this building they play well.”

Leave a Reply