By LARRY VAUGHT
With Kentucky clinging to a narrow lead Tuesday, senior Julius Mays hit perhaps his two biggest 3-point shots of the season in the final 5 minutes, 4 seconds.
Mays’ first trey put UK ahead 61-56 and his second one less than a minute later made it 64-58 and helped UK go on to beat Tennessee 75-65.
“The thing is, I get mad when he’s catching the ball at the 3-point line and the guy is in the lane and he doesn’t shoot it,” said Kentucky coach John Calipari. “Literally the guy has a foot in the lane running at it, but he’s in the lane. You caught it, you have to get it off and shoot it. Or, if he thrives in a dead run that way at you; not running at you, he just jumps that way at you, then you should one-dribble pull-up.
“But see, you have to understand now, his assist-to-turnover ratio may be one of the best in the NCAA.”
Mays took only three 3-point tries and for only the second time this season made more 3-point shots than he missed in a game. After suffering through a horrendous slump, he’s now 4-for-9 from 3-point range the last two games.
He had one assist and one turnover against the Vols. For the season, he has 51 assists and 17 turnovers,a 3-to-1 assist/turnover ratio that is the best on the game.
“My thing to him is when you drive, drive to pass. Don’t drive to score, you’re not big enough,” Calipari said. “You’re not athletic enough. Shoot the 3, one dribble pull-up, or drive to pass. Remember against Texas A&M, he drove and he shot it, with Archie (Goodwin) in the wide-open corner. Those are all the things that I keep saying, you have to buy into how we are telling you to play. This is how we are telling you to play and you’re not doing it, so you’re not bought in.
“The trust I’m telling you about with these guys, unless everybody’s doing what they are supposed to, you don’t trust each other. This guy, we all know what he’s supposed to do, but he’s not doing it. Well, how can I trust him? Now I worry about myself. Now he can’t trust me, and then you look like a team that doesn’t trust each other.”