Tyler Ulis, Derek Willis power Kentucky Wildcats to 88-54 romp over Missouri Tigers

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Kentucky's beating of Missouri was so sudden, so thorough, that John Calipari almost felt the need to apologize to his coaching counterpart, Kim Anderson, in the aftermath.

The No. 20 Wildcats blitzed Missouri with a 20-0 run before the game's first TV timeout, led 47-20 at the half, and never let off the pedal en route to an 88-54 win over the Tigers on Wednesday night at Rupp Arena.

"I told (Anderson) afterwards, that was one of our best games. Like, you just faced our best team," Calipari said. "... They got the buzz saw today. We played well."

"I just think we got run over by a truck early in the game, and it took us awhile to get back up," Anderson said. "... They completely dominated it. We had no answer. We had no answer for anybody for a long time. I think you have to give them credit. They played great. Certainly they seem to be playing better and better."

Sophomore point guard Tyler Ulis continued his string of dominant performances, scoring a game-high 20 points and dishing out eight assists to lead Kentucky (16-4, 6-2 SEC). The Cats also got another double-double from emerging star Derek Willis, a junior forward who posted 18 points and a game-high 12 rebounds in only his fourth start of the season.

"We're getting better as a team," Calipari said. "I'm going to be honest with you, a big part of it is putting Derek Willis in the role that he's in has changed us. It's just changed our team."

Kentucky shot 52 percent from the field, owned a 47-29 rebounding advantage, and dished out a season-high 18 assists. Freshman guard Isaiah Briscoe added 15 points and six assists for the Cats.

Missouri (8-12, 1-6 SEC) was held to 32 percent shooting from the field, a figure that was in the 20s for most of the game before a few late buckets bolstered it. Wes Clark led the Tigers with 11 points, but those came on a 3-for-16 shooting night.

In this AllWildcats "Rapid Recap" feature, we touch on some quick-hitters from UK's win...


Tipoff. Although Missouri opened with a 2-0 lead, it would not last long. The Cats hit 11 of their first 15 shots, including all five of their 3-pointers, to stun the Tigers. Willis would bury three 3-pointers before the visitors would make their next basket at the 14:09 mark. Mizzou never recovered as the lead swelled to as much as 41 points in the second half.


1 - Game back in the SEC standings for UK after Arkansas upset No. 5 Texas A&M on Wednesday night in Fayetteville.

11 - Season-high blocked shots for the Cats, including five by freshman center Skal Labissiere.

54 - The best defensive scoring effort for UK this season.

83 - Combined margin of defeat in Mizzou's last two trips to Lexington.

88 - Points tied the Cats' season-high total set Dec. 9 against Eastern Kentucky.

2:57 - Time left in the game when the Tigers surpassed UK's first-half scoring total.


“Derek gives us that, another stretch guy that you got to go play with Tyler, with Jamal (Murray), and it lets Isaiah do his thing. It posts up Alex (Poythress) where he should be. It puts us all in the right spots." -- UK coach John Calipari


Kentucky returns to action on Saturday at Kansas in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. The No. 4 Jayhawks (16-4, 5-3 Big 12) are coming off an 85-72 loss at Iowa State. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.

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