Assistant coach John Robic pinch-hit for head coach John Calipari during UK basketball’s media opportunity to preview Tuesday night’s 9 p.m. game against visiting Georgia:
Three takes from the presser:
1. The Bulldogs get after it on defense
Georgia’s opponents are shooting just 37.5 percent from the floor, including just 30.5 percent from three-point range. Robic joked that the Dawgs even guard the free throw line well. Opponents are shooting 68.8 percent from the foul line.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Lexington Herald-Leader
Nationally, Mark Fox’s team is sixth in the nation in field goal percentage defense, behind San Diego State (36.3), UConn (36.8), Valparaiso (36.9), Michigan State (37.0) and Little Rock (37.0). Georgia ranks 22nd nationally in three-point defense.
Texas A&M is the only SEC team to shoot better than 50 percent against Georgia. The Aggies shot 52.7 in a 79-45 romp on Jan. 16. LSU is the only other conference team to shoot better than 40 percent against Georgia. The Tigers shot 43.4 percent in an 89-85 win in Baton Rouge on Jan. 26.
Auburn shot 25.9 percent against Georgia last Saturday. South Carolina shot 31 percent in a 69-56 loss in Athens last Tuesday. South Carolina then went to College Station on Saturday and knocked Texas A&M out of the SEC’s top spot with an 81-78 victory.
2. Kentucky’s defense was pretty good Saturday as well
For instance, Florida’s Chris Chiozza badly lost his point guard matchup with Kentucky’s Tyler Ulis in the Gators’ 80-61 loss. Coming off his best game of the season -- 17 points, eight assists versus Arkansas -- Chiozza went one of eight from the field, including one of four from behind the three-point line. Chiozza finished with three points and four assists in 29 minutes. Meanwhile, Ulis scored 18 points and dished 11 assists.
Chiozza wasn’t the only Gator guard who struggled. Freshman guard KeVaughn Allen had scored in double figures five straight games for the Gators. He was averaging 14.1 points a game in conference play. The Arkansas native scored all of three points on Saturday. Allen missed five of his six field goal attempts, including three of his four three-point attempts.
Kasey Hill brought a streak of three consecutive double-figure games into Saturday's game. He left with just four points in 13 minutes. Hill missed five of his seven shots. He also had just one assist, compared to two turnovers.
Overall, Florida averaged just 0.961 points per possession, after averaging 1.190 in the win over Arkansas. But then, offense has been the problem for first-year coach Michael White’s team. Florida shot 39.6 percent on Saturday, the fourth time in 10 SEC games that the Gators failed to make at least 40 percent of their shots.
In Ken Pomeroy’s ratings, Florida dropped to 80th in offensive efficiency and 28th overall.
3. Isaac Humphrey and getting the right matchup
The 7-foot freshman contributed 15 solid minutes Saturday to UK’s takedown of Florida. After playing all of 21 minutes since Dec. 3, Humphries scored four points, grabbed six rebounds and blocked two shots. All were needed. Knee soreness kept Alex Poythress from playing. UK’s other bigs encountered foul trouble again.
“He played terrifically,” Robic said Monday. “He stepped up when the opportunity was there. He did the things; exactly what we needed him to do.”
Might Humphries receive a similar opportunity Tuesday?
“It’s going to depend on the flow of the game,” Robic said. “For instance, this would be a good game for Isaac because they actually have size in the post. If it was an undersized team, say like Tennessee, where they really don’t have a true post, that would be a tough game for Isaac. This is a matchup-type game that benefits all of our bigger players.”
Yante Maten is a much-improved 6-foot-8 post player for the Bulldogs. The sophomore had 12 points and 12 rebounds in Georgia’s win over Auburn. Kenny Paul Geno, a 6-6 junior, also starts. He’s averaging three points and three rebounds per game.
Off the bench, Georgia turns to 6-8 freshman Derek Ogbeide and 6-9 freshman Mike Edwards. Ogbeide had a 9-point/10-rebound game at Ole Miss on Jan. 9. Edwards grabbed seven rebounds at LSU. Houston Kessler, a 6-8 junior, also comes in off the bench. He grabbed 10 rebounds at Missouri.
Robic said that during the stretch when Humphries wasn’t playing, it was normally was because the other team presented a bad matchup for the freshman.
Georgia men’s basketball results 2015-16