LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - After a loss that will inevitably knock
Kentucky from its No. 24 ranking, it was the number 29 that most
bothered coach Billy Gillispie.
Based on Gillispie's count, that's how many times the Wildcats
took a shot against Ole Miss after two or fewer passes. Not
acceptable in Gillispie's system, and 85-80 loss to the Rebels
underscored his point.
"I don't know if they panicked or not," Gillispie said Friday.
"It's hard to know when to go and when to 'whoa.' That's really a
unique ability some players have. You can learn it over time."
Gillispie says the team did learn it at one point this season
but seems to have forgotten recently. It's an elementary concept
the Wildcats (16-5, 5-1 Southeastern Conference) are going to need
to rediscover in a hurry Saturday against South Carolina (15-4,
4-2) and its talented guard Devan Downey, who leads the league in
While Gillispie has often stressed that the open man takes the
shot, Gillispie says the other element to that is the open man
takes the shot at the right time.
"It's not 10 passes," Gillispie said. "It's not 15 passes.
It's not two passes. It's knowing when."
And, sometimes, knowing who should take them.
Freshman point guard DeAndre Liggins took 16 shots Tuesday,
making only 3. Many of them were open shots as the Rebels opted
instead to guard Patrick Patterson and Jodie Meeks. But considering
Liggins' shot total was four more than Patterson, who got few looks
from beneath the basket, Gillispie said the priorities were
"When we have players as good as Pat, we need to explore and
probe," Gillispie said. "We haven't been doing that well
Liggins was hardly the only Wildcat who couldn't find the net.
Just two weeks after setting a team record with 54 points against
Tennessee, Jodie Meeks connected on only 4 of 15 shots against the
Taking better shots doesn't just increase shooting percentages,
Gillispie said. It also helps set the pace defensively. Ideally, he
wants to see his team use up 25 seconds or more of the shot clock.
"In our minds, we know what we should be doing," freshman
Darius Miller said.
Guard Michael Porter said the team needs to get the timing down,
and avoid the pitfalls that can occur in the heat of battle.
"For the most part, we already know," guard Michael Porter
said. "Sometimes when you're in the flow of the game you just do
it, and afterward you just say, 'Oh, I shouldn't have done that."'