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November 15, 2008

Kentucky Falls to VMI’s Stun and Gun

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Gasaway @ 12:40 am

Last November in his second game as head coach of Kentucky, Billy Gillispie watched his team take the floor in Rupp Arena against a Big South team (Gardner-Webb). Two hours later he headed to the locker room at the short end of an 84-68 final score.

Mark it as progress, then, that last night the Wildcats lost at home to this year’s Big South representative (VMI) by just eight points, 111-103. The Keydets did what they do: they pushed the pace. It’s not that they “ran,” really. True fast breaks were in short supply. Rather, Duggar Baucom‘s team took the seven-seconds-or-less approach and shot the rock after one or, at most, two passes. As a result there were no fewer than 93 possessions in this 40-minute game.

This tactic needs a name. For example it’s different than North Carolina‘s accelerated pace. I propose to call it stun and gun. These teams don’t beat the defense down the floor. True, the play-by-play has no shortage of VMI “LAYUP”s but that’s misleading: these were actually contested shots, albeit ones launched from in close, most often by Travis Holmes (30 points on 10-of-13 shooting from the field). VMI also shoots a lot of threes, of course (14-of-31), but Kentucky was plainly stunned at how quickly the Keydets did so within each possession. 

For the Wildcats the surprising aspect of the evening is not simply that they lost, but rather that they lost even though they led 97-95 after having trailed by 23 in the second half. With five minutes left in the game, VMI looked spent and Kentucky was scoring virtually at will. From that point on, however, the Cats recorded as many turnovers as made field goals. Indeed, for the evening Gillispie’s team gave the ball away on 27 percent of their trips. That was the only way a team that was making an inconceivable 64 percent of their twos and rebounding an inconceivable 51 percent of their misses could conceivably lose.

Lose they did. 

1 Comment »

  1. […] While the high score makes it seem as though VMI shot the (flukey) lights out, that really wasn’t the case at all. Basketball Prospectus’ John Gasaway explains: The Keydets did what they do: they pushed the pace. It’s not that they “ran,” really. True fast breaks were in short supply. Rather, Duggar Baucom’s team took the seven-seconds-or-less approach and shot the rock after one or, at most, two passes. As a result there were no fewer than 93 possessions in this 40-minute game. […]

    Pingback by Speed Kills Kentucky, Which Loves Embarrassing Losses — November 15, 2008 @ 8:18 pm

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