Calipari says defensive efforts led to more efficient shooting


Kentucky sophomore guard Quade Green holds his form as his three point shot goes through the net during the game against Monmouth on Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018, at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Jordan Prather | Staff

Three-point shooting and defense—something Kentucky has struggled with all season so far. However, the Cats showed improvements in both sides of the ball Wednesday night in a game they hit 10 threes and held Monmouth to just 44 points.

According to head coach John Calipari, his team should be more efficient from the three-point line than what they have showed this season.

“I’ll say it again, this is the best three-point shooting team I’ve had since I’ve been here,” Calipari said after the game. “We need to take between 18 and 24 threes.”

Kentucky did just that, as they went 10-of-24 from beyond the arc, which is more than they’ve both made and attempted in any single game all season. Six Wildcats had themselves a three-piece while eight of the ten players who got minutes attempted one. Four of the made attempts came from sophomore guard Quade Green, who finished with 14 points in the game. Green credits his teammates for his three-point shooting against the Hawks.

“It felt good. Thanks to my teammates, they found me when I was open. Thanks to my teammates I was able to hit the shots,” Green said.

Green said Monmouth’s defensive schemes led to Kentucky’s 24 three-point attempts.

“They were playing zone, so we just wanted to get them out of that zone a little bit, make the wings come up more so the bottom half for the big man can be open, so they can operate,” Green said.

Coach Calipari said after last game against Tennessee State that the reason his team was struggling offensively is because they didn’t have any confidence defensively. He believes his team fixed that problem and their efficiency on the defensive end against Monmouth is why they were able to hit so many threes.

“I told them, this is the best we played,” Coach Calipari said. “And it’s because of what we did defensively. And as they guard, do you see them building their own confidence on offense? When you guard and you build confidence in yourself you’re going to be aggressive on offense too.”

Kentucky freshman Tyler Herro, who hit two threes and tallied 16 total points, agrees with Calipari and says their defensive stops led to them playing “more free” on the offensive end of the floor. Herro says he’s not afraid to pass up an open shot to dish the ball to Green, who he credited for his ability on offense.

“Quade is just as good or a better shooter than me, so whenever he gets the opportunity he can let it go, as you’ve seen tonight he hit a few threes,” Herro said. “When he gets it going I feel like we’re a lot better team.”

As for Green, he’s not so sure if he agrees with Calipari on them being the best three-point shooting team he’s ever had.

 “I don’t know. I never looked at it like that. I’m gonna do some research now and find out. I’m gonna get back with you on that,” Green said.