Buffalo coach Nate Oats on Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: “He’s the best point guard we’ve seen all year.”

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (22) is the best point guard Buffalo faced this year. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander impresses coaches when they watch him on film. Once they see him in person, he leaves them even more impressed.

Just ask Buffalo coach Nate Oats. He watched Gilgeous-Alexander score 27 points on 10-for-12 shooting from the field and and 5-for-7 at the foul line. He had six rebounds, six assists and two steals while playing 39 minutes.

When Kentucky needed big plays the final nine minutes, he made them just like he did Thursday when UK outlasted Davidson.

“I told the guys, there’s a reason this guy is projected to be the lottery pick. He’s the best point guard we’ve seen all year,” Oats said. “He passes it, scores it, he’s 6-6, he’s long. They can usually take other guards out of it, but we started out trying to deny him the ball back, once he gave it up.

“But he’s so long at 6-6. He gets open. And then he gets it. I saw some teams try to trap him; he throws over the trap, they dunk it. He throws it, they dunk it. He finishes at the rim. We really didn’t have an answer for him tonight.

“That was a major problem for us tonight defensively. We were supposed to be loading up and tightening the gaps, then they start making some 3’s. We cut it to four or five — was it four — four or five, and then they hit back-to-back 3’s, if I remember right.

“That kind of killed us right there. And then they got some dunks at crucial times. To me, Alexander makes them go.
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Here’s what Gilgeous-Alexander did against Buffalo:

He scored 17 points in the first half, reaching double figures in the first 20 minutes for the fifth time in the last seven games.

It was the most points any Wildcat has scored in a first half this season.

— He’s scored 10 or more in nine first halves this season.

He scored 20 or more points for the sixth time, and second time in the last three games.

He played a career-high 39 minutes for the fifth time.

Over the last nine games he’s averaging 19.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 6.9 assists per game while shooting 54.4 percent from the field, 55 percent from 3-point range.

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  1. SGA is making better decisions and it shows in his numbers. They need to keep passing and moving without the ball so the defense can’t just key on one man. The South region is the Cats for the taking if they keep on playing as a team. SGA may have played himself into a first round pick.

  2. Will we ever get the full, honest facts behind the Vando injuries? He still seems to be self evaluating and said yesterday he had improved 1% from the day before. He looks and acts like a great cheerleader on the bench, but is really committed to helping his team if needed. Some of you believe best not to upset current rotation, but I like his energy, leadership, and production with his passing and rebounding. It would appear that he will be needed if we close in on Final 4.

  3. What does this have to do with the great game Diallo had?
    We get it !! You’re the smartest pothead to ever escape the people’s republic of the Pacific northwest!! You are also a boring assh**e with your constant, bandwagon negativity and off topic ramblings.

    1. Rehab not going too well for you is it PK?

  4. Great win for the Cats. as for G-A, wow, one of the best performances I have ever witnessed by a player wearing the Blue and White. Coach Oats and his team had their say before the game. UK got theirs on the floor. Professor called this one before hand, and UK responded with a vengeance. This team of “Wildcats” is growing up. Calipari deserves a lot of the credit too.

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