Recap: Kentucky Wildcats post 111-58 win over KSU in final exhibition tune-up

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Kentucky's final exhibition tune-up for the regular season saw the No. 2 Wildcats top the century mark for the second time as they rolled to a 111-58 win over tradition-rich Division II neighbor Kentucky State on Friday at Rupp Arena.

Freshman Skal Labissiere scored all of his game-high 22 points in the second half to lead UK on a 9-for-12 shooting night for the Haitian big man. Fellow freshman Jamal Murray followed with 20 points, while Tyler Ulis (15), Alex Poythress (13) and Charles Matthews (11) have the Cats five players in double figures.

"You know what I told (Labissiere) at halftime?" UK John Calipari said. "We're throwing it to you every time. I don't care. You can go 1-for-15 or go prove you are the player you are. And he proved it."

Kentucky also got some well-rounded stat lines from Marcus Lee (9 points, 11 rebounds) and Derek Willis (6 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 blocks, 2 steals).

The Wildcats started a bit sluggish, but got rolling with the help of some full-court pressure midway through the first half, mounting a 34-7 run to take a 51-20 lead at the break.

"One thing about this Kentucky team this year is that they are a really good team both size-wise and talent-wise, they have it at all five positions," KSU coach Darnell Williams said. "Jamal Murray is a great player. Personally, I haven’t seen everybody yet, but Tyler Ulis might be the best point guard in the country by far. Skal is long, Isaac Humphries is huge. They just have size, more size, and players."

Kentucky State was led by Malcolm Smith with 14 points, the lone Thoroughbred in double figures.

In this AllWildcats "Rapid Recap" feature, we touch on some of the highlights from UK's blowout...


The Cats showed once again they have the potential to be an explosive offensive club this season. Their first exhibition game on Monday produced a 117-58 win over Ottawa (Kan.) University. This one was nearly a carbon copy, although the Cats took far fewer 3-pointers in favor of posting Labissiere and attacking the basket off the bounce. Kentucky is shooting the ball well from every position on the floor, spearheaded by the three-guard lineup of Ulis, Murray and Isaiah Briscoe and Labissiere's incredibly soft touch in the post. Nice complementary performances by Lee, Poythress and Willis show that Calipari may have to extend his rotation beyond eight men after all.


There are several good candidates, but we're going to give it to Willis this time, who stuffed his stat sheet with a lot of nice figures in 21 minutes of action. Calipari says the junior forward "took some minutes" tonight and is in line to earn a spot in the rotation if he keeps performing this well.


10 - The magic defensive number for the Cats, who had 10 steals and 10 blocked shots.

29.4 - Field-goal percentage for KSU.

37 - Bench points for UK.

70.5 - Free-throw percentage for the Cats, who hit 31 of 44 at the line.

57-35 - Rebounding advantage for UK.


"Derek (Willis) is a typical college player. Which is, you come in your first year or so, you're struggling to get time, and then you bust through your junior year, and then all of a sudden it is your time and your senior year, you're out on the floor and you're doing the things that you need to do. I'm proud of him. I grabbed him and I had said you need to have a great weekend this weekend. Now build on this game." -- UK coach John Calipari


Kentucky opens the regular season on Friday, Nov. 13, against Albany in the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame Basketball Classic at Rupp Arena. Tipoff is 7 p.m. ET on the SEC Network.

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