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Cats Know They Must Improve Defensively

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

When you score 92 points, you normally win, but today’s game at Rupp Arena was not normal.

UCLA scored 97 points, the most points surrendered in the Calipari era, while shooting 53% from field goal range, the best by an opponent since Wichita State shot 55% against the Cats in the 2014 NCAA Tournament.  To add even more perspective, it’s the most points scored on Kentucky since VMI dropped 111 on Billy G in 2008.

Even though Kentucky struggled to finish offensively, their biggest problems were defensive.

“We know we are going to miss shots, but we will have more opportunities to score. You have to focus in on defense,” Malik Monk said after the game.  “We weren’t focused like we usually are.  We have to be focused and ready to play day in and day out.  If not, we’ll get beat just like this.”

Monk struggled to finish on the fast break, and Bam Adebayo struggled to finish in the post.  Still, they scored enough to win.

“We broke down a lot and they were just making open shots,” Adebayo said.

Bam struggled to defend the perimeter early on, but improved throughout the game.  It was encouraging to see the shots become more contested, but Derek Willis believes it came too late.

“We had a lot of disappointing defense,” Willis said.  “We just have to crack down on them I think and just constantly be more aware of that.  Every possession matters.  You have to have plays like that because when it does come down to March Madness or the SEC Tournament, those plays will cost you the game.”

They learned the hard way today.  Hopefully it’s a lesson they won’t forget in March.

Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

10 Comments for Cats Know They Must Improve Defensively

  1. Bobbum Man
    7:21 pm December 3, 2016 Permalink

    Just young players looking like young players. Everytime we had a chance to close the gap we rushed down and took a quick usually bad shot. Fox took a handfull of these, and with briscoe stepping out of bounds every other possession down the stretch just couldn’t make our way back into it until it was too late.

    • shelby
      7:48 pm December 3, 2016 Permalink

      Agreed–we start 4 freshmen and a sophomore; still got a lot to learn. The ceiling is very high for this team; IMO, higher than UCLA’s.

  2. jim tom
    7:52 pm December 3, 2016 Permalink

    Fox playing selfish.

  3. 3 fan
    8:10 pm December 3, 2016 Permalink

    Uh, no ish Sherlock. You give up 97 points? Yeah you need to work on D

  4. Big Meech
    8:14 pm December 3, 2016 Permalink

    So we lost against a good team and it’s cals fault……I’ve heard this before. Yea we got out hustled and defensive was suspect but I’m tired of our fans. We have young players who need to learn, ucla is really good with the number one draft pick and two solid seniors. Leaf is a great player, we will learn and improve but it’s not the worst thing ever. Tired of negativity, every year we will deal with this because of our young teams. If cal doesn’t recruit these guys then our fan base will ask what’s wrong with cal. Trust the process and we will be there in the end. Not saying will win the title but we are going to be there with a chance. Like were we are. Go Cats

  5. UK Big Board Update
    8:57 pm December 3, 2016 Permalink

    I’m also hearing from an inside source that several of the guys were sick today with the stomach flu thats been going around. Especially Mulder.

    But yeah, “Cal got outcoached”.

  6. RealCatsFan
    9:41 pm December 3, 2016 Permalink

    Keep in mind that we had a team back in 2011 that took a loss to a hot shooting Indiana team, and I recall a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth after that loss as well, but as I recall, things turned out pretty good. Granted, that one was on the road, and it took a last second shot for the win, but we were down by at least ten late in the second half. We clawed our way back to within 3 in the final minute of today’s game. If a shot or two would have fallen our way, who knows, maybe we win. My point is, we will be fine. Lot’s of teaching points for Cal to use to help this YOUNG team LEARN. The only thing that really gripes me about this loss was that it was at home, and it was to UCLA. I really wanted to avenge last year’s loss to those fokkers, and I am sick of hearing about the “legend” of UCLA when we all know that they had a sugar daddy funneling players to them all those years.

    • THE William Hill
      9:47 pm December 3, 2016 Permalink

      There are those in the world who gain pleasure from inciting a reaction when deriding others. Those people are almost always unsuccessful in life which is why they feel they must inflict their self-loathing onto others. I actually feel sorry for these people, as they can never be truly happy.