Did getting TyTy Washington and Sahvir Wheeler put UK out of sync

Kentucky fell behind early at Arkansas, rallied and then could not hold on despite having guards TyTy Washington and Sahvir Wheeler back. (SEC Photo)

After not having TyTy Washington and Sahvir Wheeler available the last two games, Kentucky had both back at Arkansas Saturday. Wheeler had a solid second half and finished with 14 points, five assists, and three rebounds in 29 minutes while Washington had 10 points, three assists, and one rebound. However, the two were only a combined 8-for-25 from the field and Wheeler also had three turnovers.

Kentucky lost 75-73 after beating Alabama and LSU without the two guards thanks in large part to Kellan Grady and Davion Mintz.

Against Alabama, Grady was 9-for-16 from the field and had 25 points, three assists, three rebounds, and one steal in 39 minutes while Mintz had seven points on 2-for-9 shooting from the field in 39 minutes along with two assists. Against LSU, Grady played all 40 minutes and had 13 points on 5-for-13 shooting, three rebounds, and three assists. Mintz played 38 points and scored 13 points on 4-for-10 shooting.

In the two games, Grady and Mintz combined for 58 points — or 29 points per game. At Arkansas, Mintz played only 20 minutes, missed two shots, and did not score. Grady played 30 minutes, made just one of three shots, and had only three points.

So what happened? Was there an adjustment needed with Washington and Wheeler back?

“No. I don’t know how to say it. Coach (John Calipari) is a professional,” said Oscar Tshiebwe, who had 30 points and 18 rebounds. “I don’t think anything changed. We run exactly the same thing. We just did not start like we always started. If we could have started like we finished, it could have been easy.”

Grady got two full midway of the first half and had to sit out for about 10 minutes. Coach John Calipari said Grady did not work as hard to get open as Arkansas did to defend him. Tshiebwe said it was just a “tough game” for Grady.

“They played great defense,” Tshiebwe said. “Sometimes you are going to struggle. He still did what he could to help us. This was great experience for us to tell us it will not be easy. We got to go back to work to be prepared for the (SEC/NCAA) tournament.”

Tshiebwe said it was a “big thing” to have Wheeler and Washington back even if UK did lose and both players were a bit “rusty” — Calipari’s terminology after the game.

“I am not going to blame anyone. Coming back from injury, anyone is going to struggle,” Tshiebwe said. “I am glad they are back so we can be ready for the tournament.”

He said Calipari told the team it should have been more ready for Arkansas. The home team had a 15-0 run after UK scored the game’s first basket.

“When you play a team like this you gotta be ready,” Tshiebwe said.

7 Responses

  1. Not to blame a kid. but there is no way Cal should have had Brooks do the out of bounds Play. in LSU game he made turn over passes 2 times . then failed to call time out and turned the ball over again on 5 second count. he did it twice, and once again this last game failed to call time out for another 5 second count plus bad inlet pass that went over to hogs for two scores. then to add insult to energy he commits an offensive foul on inbound for another turn over and easy basket for Hogs. all these turn overs seem to occur when the game gets heated in last minutes. This should not happen for a 3 year guy.

  2. No way Cal could not get Grady open for just 2 shots plus one desperate one.
    Also why did Toppin pay minuscule minutes

  3. Teams play off Wheeler which allows them to concentrate on Grady IMO. So that makes it harder for him. I also think once we cross midcourt that having Grady start the pic-n-roll at the top with Oscar is harder for teams to defend because of his 3 point shooting threat. No team cares if Wheeler shoots. Not knocking him. We need him. He is a good player. Cal just needs to adjust the sets some. But hey I love this team and their potential to Dance for a long time.

      1. When Sahvir plays to pass first and be a defensive stopper who doesn’t worry about picking up fouls, UK rolls. When Sahvir looks for his shot first and backs off his defense to avoid fouls, we struggle.

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