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By LARRY VAUGHT
In the previous seven games, point guard Ryan Harrow had missed nine of his 12 3-point shots. In 14 previous Southeastern Conference games, he was just 8-for-34 from 3-point range.
Kentucky coach John Calipari said he wasn’t worried about the way Harrow or Archie Goodwin, who had missed 21 of 24 3’s in conference play going into Wednesday’s game with Mississippi State, hit 3-pointers because that was not their best asset.
“That’s not what’s going to define their game,” Calipari said after I asked him about their shooting on the SEC coaches teleconference.
But guess what? Harrow went 3-for-6 from 3-point range in Wednesday’s 85-55 win and Goodwin 1-for-3. While not wanting to pat myself on the back — okay, that’s exactly what I am doing — just know that my probing (??) question on the SEC teleconference might have had an impact on Harrow’s shooting.
Don’t laugh. Let Harrow explain why he had his second best shooting game of the season from 3-point range.
“I heard a reporter say something like me and Archie’s 3-point percentage not been good in the SEC. Me and Archie have been working on that a lot in practice,” Harrow said after the game.
I’m not sure if Harrow knew I was the one who asked the question or not, but when I admitted it was me he just flashed that engaging smile and laughed. That’s when I suggested maybe that reporter should ask Calipari more questions about his play if it helped that much — and since unlike most players he was willing to admit that he did pay attention to media reports and stories.
“I usually don’t even try to listen — not that I don’t like you guys because you all are great — but I just happened to come across that and I am like we need to work on our jump shots a little bit more then,” Harrow said. “In practice, we did a segment where we were only able to shoot 3’s and me and Archie were knocking them down, so I guess we were playing a little bit more confident today.”
I told him I was “glad I could help” his play. He laughed and said, “Thank you.”
But I had to also make sure that he heard what Calipari said about not needing him to make 3-point shots and that if him and Goodwin did it was only a bonus and “we win by 25.” Of course, they made four 3’s between them Wednesday and UK won by 30.
“I heard him say that, but it should even out about the 3-point shooting,” Harrow said. “We just have to take shots where we are open. If it is a 3-point shot, we have to take it and be confident enough to knock it down like we did in this game. And I know we can do it.”
Especially with a little motivation from a helpful question like the one he heard me ask Calipari.