The abnormally late conclusion of last night’s basketball game kept us at the KSR office past our usual bedtimes, and caused us to hurry through our post-game coverage here on the website. So this morning, as I drink my fifth coffee since getting up at 4 am to watch the Australian Open, I’ll run through more observations and newsworthy tidbits from the Cats’ 88-54 win over Mizzou.
Oh, and good morning, everyone.
Tyler Ulis crossed the 20-point, five-assist plateau AGAIN.
Early last week I wrote that Tyler Ulis has the most 20-point, five-assist games in the last 20 years of Kentucky basketball. He extended that lead on Ramel Bradley, Keith Bogans and John Wall last night with yet another 20-and-5 performance, his seventh in the last nine games. Ulis finished with 20 points and eight assists against Mizzou in a season-low 29 minutes of action.
John Calipari said, “Tyler was ridiculous.”
Derek Willis had a career-high 18 points, but wanted more for that special lady in his life.
Willis has been extremely open about his girlfriend; he has mentioned her several times in interviews and on social media, and even has her birthday tattooed on his body. So it shouldn’t be all that surprising to hear he was disappointed his last three-pointer didn’t fall because it would’ve given him 21 points for his girlfriend’s 21st birthday.
Still, his 18 points marked a career high and he matched his career high with 12 rebounds. It was the second double-double of his career as he continued his outstanding play as the new member of Kentucky’s starting frontcourt.
Calipari credits Willis with changing the entire team.
This woman sitting courtside with an empty chair for her dear friend will tug on your heart-strings.
Selma Conrad sits next to empty chair of her late friend, Judy Owens pic.twitter.com/FlqTz7ntyW
— Jerry Tipton (@JerryTipton) January 28, 2016
As Jerry Tipton reported on Twitter, Selma Conrad sat next to an empty chair for her late friend, Judy Owens. Selma sat a couple of seats down from me and I couldn’t stop watching her throughout the game. I got a little teary-eyed thinking about their friendship and the very cool gesture by Selma to honor her friend, who I’m sure was looking down with a smile, enjoying the game.
Oh man, my heart.
The team still misses Dominique Hawkins.
As he has done after most games since losing Dominique Hawkins to a high-ankle sprain, Calipari made sure to let us know he misses Hawkins in his rotation. Last night he said, “We need Dom back — if Dom does what I think, there will be a couple other guys in positions where they’re not going to get many minutes.”
Hawkins re-injured that ankle in practice last week and it’s uncertain when he will be able to return.
Skal Labissiere must rebound and defend.
Big night for Labissiere in the scoring column, which is great to see, but it’s not enough. The Cats need him to play defense and crash the boards, and he is still struggling in those two aspects of the game.
He did have a career-high five blocks to lead the team in its best shot-blocking game of the season, but he somehow missed out on grabbing a single rebound in 18 minutes.
Cal wonders if he’ll be able to play Labissiere against Kansas if Labissiere isn’t rebounding and guarding his man: “What if he can’t rebound in that game? Can I leave him in the game? You know I can’t. That’s what I just said to him. Kid, we’re playing a team. If you can’t guard their big guy, and you can’t get a rebound, I can’t leave you in the game. I love you, come and stay with me tonight, but you can’t play in that game.”
That concern is why he saw limited action against Vanderbilt. Gotta be able to D up.
Nice showing against Missouri offensively, though.
“Isaiah is the best defensive guard and rebounding guard in the country.”
High praise from Calipari in his postgame press conference for Isaiah Briscoe.
AND BRISCOE WENT 5-OF-6 FROM THE LINE LAST NIGHT!!!!!!!!!
Enjoy these highlights from the game…
Thank you, Kentucky Wildcats TV.
What was Nerlens Noel doing in Philadelphia?
That’s one way to send Andre Drummond to the line.
Plenty more coming throughout the day, including Ryan Lemond’s halfcourt shot and a prancing referee, so stick around…