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  • Inconsistent Knox leading team in scoring, rebounding and minutes

    By LARRY VAUGHT

    Kevin Knox was expected to be Kentucky's best offensive player this season. At 6-9, he could hit from 3-point range or midrange. He had the tools to get inside on his own or could score off the offensive board.

    He's averaging 14.9 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. He's hitting 45 percent overall from the field, including 33 percent from 3-point range. At the foul line, he's making 75 percent of his shots.

    Knox leads the team in scoring, rebounding and minutes (32.7 per game).

    But what the numbers don't show is how inconsistent he has been.

    He was 6-for-23 from the field in Kentucky's first two games. He was a combined 4-for-18 from the field in a two-game stretch against Louisville and Georgia. Against Monmouth, he missed eight of nine shots.

    He was 1-for-9 again in UK's loss at Tennessee and in the last two games against Missouri and Tennessee, both losses, he's 5-for-17 from the field.

    But remember West Virginia? He had 34 points on 11-for-17 shooting. He had 19 points against Mississippi State when he was 4-for-4 from 3-point range.

    So why does he struggle at times offensively like he has the last two games? Has it been the defense or him?

    "Well he took more shots than anybody on the team," Kentucky coach John Calipari said Tuesday night after Knox missed eight of 11 shots against Tennessee.

    Were they good or bad shots?

    "I would like him to go to the rim more. I would like him to get in there and get fouled more. The play he made, the and-one, I would like to see a bunch of those. When the court is crowded he struggles a little bit with that, so maybe we got to do some things to make the court more open for him," Calipari said.

    Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said the Vols didn't want to let him operate in space and dropped back on defense to create spacing problems for Knox and his teammates.

    Calipari, though, insisted it was not Knox's offense that cost UK the win over Tennessee.

    "It's as much defense that I worry about. If a guy's breaking down and killing us on defense, the offense, now you break down on offense and you are breaking down on defense, you're really killing us. So we got to just sure up some of the small mistakes we're making," Calipari said.