Three quick notes from Monday’s UK basketball media opp previewing Tuesday’s game with Ole Miss.
1. Defense. After the five-point win at Missouri, Kentucky’s emphasis is on defense. Two straight opponents have shot better than 50 percent against the Cats, and Missouri’s average of 1.166 points per possession was the best against the Cats all season.
Subbing for head coach John Calipari, assistant Orlando Antigua emphasized defense in his remarks to the media. He talked about how the team needs to be better in transition. “With a young group, the guys have to understand the kind of commitment you need to make to do the things we want to do.”
As for the zone defense, which UK used at times Saturday, Antigua said, “We’ve been working on it a lot; that’s all I’ll give you.”
2. Offensive execution. UK did a great job executing offensively down the stretch. Alex Poythress’ bucket off a clean pick-and-roll. Aaron Harrison’s drive down left baseline for a reverse layup. Julius Randle’s big basket after Missouri’s four-point play. “Excited about the way we’re playing offensively,” Antigua said. “We have to continue to do that.”
He credited point guard Andrew Harrison with having a good floor game at Missouri. Antigua said Harrison kept the team organized and did a good job of recognizing what the Tigers were trying to do defensively.
3. Marshall Henderson. Ole Miss’ controversial guard is averaging 19.2 points per game this year, hitting 36.6 percent of his shots and 36.3 percent of his three-point shots. Of Henderson’s 279 field goal attempts this season, 212 have been from beyond the three-point arc.
“You just know he’s going to shoot. We’re expecting that,” Antigua said.
Against South Carolina on Saturday, Henderson took eight two-point shots. He was two of nine from three-point range and five of eight from inside the arc. That doesn’t mean he’s changing his game, however.
“He doesn’t have a green light,” Antigua said. “He has no light.”
Related link: Syracuse new No. 1, UK 14th in AP poll