UK shines from behind the three-point line against Virginia Tech


Kentucky red-shirt freshman guard Hamidou Diallo looks back after shooting a three during the game against Virginia Tech on Saturday, December 16, 2017 in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 93-86. Photo by Arden Barnes | Staff

Phillip Hawkins

After a big win over Virginia Tech on Saturday, the No. 8 Kentucky basketball team has now won its seventh consecutive game. 

As a team, this may be one of the best games they have played all season.  One of the areas where the Cats show a lot of improvement was in their three point shooting. In particular, one of the hot shooters for the Cats was Hamidou Diallo.

Recap: Cats defeat Hokies 93-86

Diallo scored the second-most points for the team against Virginia Tech, finishing the game with 20 points. This is now back-to-back games where he has finished with 20 or more points. 

A major key to his getting his 20 points was his three-point shooting.  Only a 31 percent three-point shooter on the season, Diallo knocked down four of his seven three point attempts against the Hokies.

Diallo’s four three point makes are the most he has made in a game all season long.  His previous high was only two, which came against Utah Valley in the team’s first game and against Fort Wayne last month. 

With his unique ability to drive the ball and get to the rim, Diallo takes this team to an entirely new level when he can hit his three point attempts. 

It wasn’t just Diallo who was making big time threes; it was the entire team. This season, the team is only making 34 percent of their three point attempts per game, but Saturday that all changed. 

Against the Hokies, the Cats shot 11-22 from the beyond arc making 50 percent of their shots.  The 11 made threes were the team’s most this season, surpassing its previous record of nine that came against ETSU.

“Tonight we showed that we can really knock shots down. We’re getting really better at it,” said Kevin Knox, who knocked down two threes himself.

Watch: Kevin Knox post game interview

Being down six at halftime and winning the game by only seven points, the three-point shooting played a big role in the Cats’ win Saturday afternoon.  Shooting the three this well for one game is one thing, but maintaining this consistency for the entire season is another. 

If UK can continue to shoot the three-ball well, the college basketball world should be put on notice.

Diallo led the team in made three pointers with four, followed by Knox and Quade Green, who made two apiece.  With Diallo starting to catch his stride, look for him to keep making big time shots, especially from three, on a more consistent basis. 

If he can do that, then Kentucky is going to be a force to be reckoned with.