Stansbury avoided overusing zone against UK

Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury's first instinct was to play zone defense like most teams had against Kentucky recently to protect his center, Jarvis Varnado, against foul trouble.

Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury's first instinct was to play zone defense like most teams had against Kentucky recently to protect his center, Jarvis Varnado, against foul trouble going against DeMarcus Cousins, Patrick Patterson and Daniel Orton. He also thought a zone defense could slow down John Wall. However, Stansbury went to plan B.

"I thought are we going to limit their strengths, Wall and Cousins, or try to play to our strengths. That is where I think I flip flopped," Stansbury said.

His team played zone only seven times in the first half and didn't try to overly work the shot clock. He had to use zone more as well as take time off the clock in the second half after Varnado got fouls two through four in a 33-second span less than three minutes into the half.

"At one time I was thinking about taking their strengths away and by game time I decided to play to our strengths and ours has been guarding the basketball," the Mississippi State coach said. "I was trying to get to halftime for sure, and we did that with Jarvins with one foul. In man (defense), were were doubling Cousins to help Jarvis. We are a better man team than zone. Our plan was right on with it." Kentucky probaby helped by going only 4-for-24 from 3-point range and continuing to shoot outside even when Varnado spent most of the second half on the bench before fouling out with 5 minutes, 8 seconds to play.

"We probably survived better than I thought we could survive," Stansbury said. "We kept mixing and matching enough and helping off (Patrick) Patterson enough that they didn't jam in it there. We got back on defense and kept Wall out of the lane. I am not going to fault anything about our team's effort. We just could not close it out."


AllWildcats Top Stories