Kentucky can't shoot--or can they?

LEXINGTON, Ky. - With preseason All-American forward Patrick Patterson, top 5 center Demarcus Cousins, and key big Josh Harrellson expected to wreak havoc on the interior this season, the outside was almost an afterthought. Add in a perceived weakness in freshman phenom guard John Wall's game, and clearly the way to beat UK is to zone them. Not so fast, according to Hartford coach Dan Leibovitz.

"We tried to start with the two-three zone, and we did our best to take away the paint and make them take three's. They did that. They got past the first line of defense and they threw over us."

Indeed, Kentucky did, as the Wildcats blistered the nets for better than 60% shooting, scoring a season high 104 points in a 104-61 thumping of Hartford. The zone simply did not provide an obstacle for the Cats, according to Leibovitz.

"I thought they did a good job," Leibovitz said. "They got the ball in the middle and made some high-low plays. For us, it's difficult because of our size. John Wall was getting into gaps and creating things. I just haven't seen too many people get so many dunks and lobs. I think they'll see some bigger zones and I think they'll see a lot of them. But they attacked it pretty well and it's clear that they've been working on it."

The Wildcats are shooting greater than 40% from 3-point range as a team this season, with seven Cats shooting better than that number this season. The outside shooting--a weakness in Coach Calipari's last Memphis team, despite winning more than 30 games--seems very capable, according to Leibovitz.

"They are capable," he said. We said coming in on the scout that (Darnell) Dodson, (Darius) Miller and (Patrick) Patterson shoot the ball well from the three. They are not non-shooters. Coach Cal at Memphis was playing the dribble drive and it was different because there weren't three point threats like there are here. We had to hope they didn't (shoot well), but I'm not completely surprised because it seemed like they were all going in. I thought they made more than 14 (three pointers) to be honest."

Five Wildcats have attempted 20 or more 3-pointers this season. All five are averaging 42.9% from the arc -- or better.

Two sophomores lead Kentucky in 3-point field goals knocked down--Miller (25-57, 43.9%), and Dodson (21-49, 42.9%). The other three include freshman guard Eric Bledsoe (18-36, 50.0%), freshman guard John Wall (13-30, 43.3%) and junior power forward Patrick Patterson (9-20, 45.0%).

AllWildcats Top Stories