Defensive Scoresheet: Belmont

wingardium leviosa! - Andy Lyons

Kentucky won its penultimate non-conference game Saturday against the Belmont Bruins, overcoming an 11-point deficit in the first half to win by 13. The game featured tremendous offensive performances by both teams, despite some evidence of better defense by the Cats.

Team Defense

Belmont Offense Season Avg Game 1st Half 2nd Half
Possessions 71.1 70.0 35.0 35.0
Points 80.1 80.0 43.0 37.0
Efficiency 110.4 114.3 122.9 105.7
eFG% 55.6 55.5 56.9 53.6
Offensive RB% 27.1 17.1 26.3 6.2
Turnover % 19.4 10.0 8.6 11.4
FT Rate 42 20.3 5.6 39.3

Reading through the comments in the post game thread and postmortem, a lot of people thought the 2nd half defense was much better than the 1st half. I thought the same but in looking back at overall numbers there actually is not a lot to support that notion. True, they held Belmont to 33% shooting on threes in the second half after allowing 39% in the first half, but you can see from the eFG% numbers above that it didn't hurt their overall shooting too much. Belmont is an excellent shooting team and, at the risk of joining the tautology club, good shooting teams shoot well.

The 80 points given up by the Cats is the 2nd most all season, behind the 82 scored by North Carolina last week and Belmont's offensive efficiency of 114.3 is highest allowed this year. The Cats did do some really good things: this was their best defensive rebounding game of the year on a percentage basis and they continued to defend without sending opponents to the free throw line. The rebounding comes with an asterisk though as Belmont's season average indicates that this element of the offense is not a priority for them. On the downside, forcing a mere 7 turnovers against a team that would normally commit 13 or 14 is just the most recent example of this deficiency. Cal's teams traditionally don't force many miscues, but this season has been pretty extreme even by his standards.

Really, Kentucky's defense was pretty much the definition of average in this game. If you compare Belmont's season averages to what they did against the Cats you'll see that they hit their average in points and shooting while coming pretty close in efficiency. They were much better taking care of the ball, offset by being much worse in offensive rebounding and getting to the line. There were moments when Kentucky defended better, but the overall results do not yet reflect any real improvement.

Individual 4 Factors


Defensive Four Factors
Name Opp eFG% Opp TO% FTRate DRb%
Aaron Harrison 26.1 8.6 17.4 21.2
Dominique Hawkins 0.0 53.7 0.0 10.4
James Young 26.7 0.0 26.7 0.0
Alex Poythress 100.0 39.8 0.0 25.4
Andrew Harrison 0.0 0.0 0.0 11.4
Willie Cauley-Stein 51.6 9.6 12.9 11.1
Julius Randle 73.3 4.5 93.3 32.7
Jarrod Polson 85.7 13.6 0.0 0.0
Undefended 85.0 0.0 0.0 8.6
Marcus Lee 100.0 0.0 0.0 11.4

  • While the Cats gave up a lot of shots, it wasn't the guards fault (for the most part) as they collectively did a fair job getting a hand up and pressuring their guy
  • The bigs on the other hand had a very tough time Saturday due to the nature of Belmont's offense. Of the 30 three point shots attempted by the Bruins, Willie Cauley-Stein, Julius Randle, and Marcus Lee accounted for defending 14 and had 7 made against them. WCS himself defended 9 threes.
  • Dominique Hawkins and Alex Poythress did force turnovers, combining for 3.5 of the 7 forced by UK.
  • Andrew Harrison committed 4 fouls but managed to do so without sending anyone to the line.
  • Speaking of A1, he really did not impact the defensive box score. He had 1 forced miss and 2 defensive rebounds and that was all.

Individual Ratings


Defensive Ratings
Name Stop% DPoss% Opp Eff DRtg
Aaron Harrison 65.9 24.6 69.0 103.2
Dominique Hawkins 100.0 9.7 0.0 103.2
James Young 55.5 19.0 90.4 109.8
Alex Poythress 60.2 12.0 79.6 110.1
Andrew Harrison 99.9 3.0 0.0 110.8
Willie Cauley-Stein 52.1 28.7 115.7 114.7
Julius Randle 39.7 22.8 125.2 116.8
Jarrod Polson 31.9 10.0 163.5 119.2
Undefended 27.0 13.7 177.4 122.9
Marcus Lee 22.3 22.1 207.1 134.8

  • A really, really strong defensive game by Aaron Harrison. When you combine his DSS results with Cal's praise for his defense you arrive at a player who is unquestionably Kentucky's best defender at the guard position.
  • More A2: his 24.6% usage is an insanely high number for a guard and almost certainly due to the opponent. The combination of rating and high usage yields what I believe is the best individual defensive game by a guard since I've been doing the DSS.
  • Dominique Hawkins also had his best game of the year.
  • James Young also with a strong game and his usage is also really high for a guard. Between Young, A2, and Hawkins I think Cal has 3 strong choices for perimeter defenders, it's just a matter of getting all the pieces to work well together at the same time.

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