UK vs. Missouri Highlights

Calipari credits Derek Willis for UK’s improvement, but Willis gives all the credit to Tyler Ulis


John Calipari says Derek Willis has been the catalyst for UK's improvement. (Vicky Graff Photo)

John Calipari says Derek Willis has been the catalyst for UK’s improvement. (Vicky Graff Photo)

One could forgive Derek Willis if he wanted to say I told you so to all those who doubted him after his 18-point, 12-rebound performance in Wednesday’s rout of Missouri, his second double-double in the last four games.

Kentucky coach John Calipari said Willis’ play has changed UK since he inserted him into the starting lineup at power forward and cut minutes for both Marcus Lee and Skal Labissiere.

UK vs. Missouri Photo Gallery

Photos by Vicky Graff

Kentucky-Missouri postgame notes and numbers

Freshman Jamal Jamal Murray had 11 points Wednesday, his 18th consecutive double-figure game. (Vicky Graff Photo)

Freshman Jamal Jamal Murray had 11 points Wednesday, his 18th consecutive double-figure game. (Vicky Graff Photo)

Rupp Arena, Lexington, Ky.
Jan. 27, 2016
 Attendance: 23,933

Final Score: Kentucky 88, Missouri 54

Team Records and Series Notes
• Kentucky is now 16-4 on the season, 6-2 in Southeastern Conference action. Missouri is 8-12 overall, 1-6 in league play.
• Kentucky leads the all-time series 9-0.
• Next for the Wildcats: UK travels to Kansas on Sat. Jan. 30 as part of the SEC-Big 12 challenge. The game will be at 7 p.m. EST and televised on ESPN.

Missouri coach Kim Anderson: “We just got run over by a truck”


So much for Kentucky looking past Missouri to Kansas.

Led by three early 3-pointers from Derek Willis — who had his second double-double in four games with 18 points and 12 rebounds — the Cats rolled over Missouri 85-54 Wednesday night.

“I just think we got run over by a truck early in the game (when UK went on a 20-0 run) and it just took us a while to get back up. I thought they played with an incredible amount of energy. It reminded me a lot of last year’s game (when Kentucky won 86-37). For whatever reason, I thought they were really energized,” Missouri coach Kim Anderson said.

Van Florence gone but not forgotten at awards ceremony


He couldn’t be there, but no one forgot Van Florence.

The Bluegrass Sports Commission named Florence its Bobby Flynn Volunteer of the Year for his years of service to the Kentucky basketball program as president of UK’s 101 Club for over 30 years.

However, Florence passed Saturday at home after a long illness. He has been born with cerebral palsy, but never let that slow him down and it was the same when he got sick a few years ago. He had worked with Adolph Rupp, Joe Hall, Eddie Sutton, Rick Pitino and Tubby Smith at Kentucky. He helped both Smith and Pitino start charitable foundations during their time at UK.

Shaquille O’Neal wants apology for “dumbest story I have ever read in my life”


Former LSU and NBA star Shaquille O’Neal is not happy that a comment he said was clearly a joke turned into a national story about him getting money during his college playing days.

During the 12th annual Los Angeles Lakers All-Access fundraiser Monday, O’Neal was asked about his years at LSU. Los Angeles Times beat writer Mike Bresnahan quoted O’Neal’s answer: “Yes, they paid very well. Statute of limitations is up. I can talk about it.” Then he added, “Snitches get stitches . . . what can I say?”

Marcus Lee knows he has to adjust so he fouls less


Vicky Graff Photo

Vicky Graff Photo

Marcus Lee admits it has been a “rough couple weeks” for him and he hopes to be back on track when Kentucky hosts Missouri Wednesday night.

What would  likely help Lee more than anything is avoiding foul trouble.

“Fouls have been very crazy lately, especially for me. But I guess that’s the way they’re calling it now and that’s something I have to adjust to. That’s what I’ve been doing and trying to work on, fouling less. I know that if I stay in the game, we’ll do better and I’ll feel more confident,” Lee said.

Guest post: Numbers favor Kentucky by 17 over Missouri


Vicky Graff Photo

Vicky Graff Photo

Last Thursday, the Cats impressed with a huge road win at Arkansas. It was not simply the fact of the win that impressed so much as the manner of the win, which they accomplished with full effort from tip to final buzzer. Coming on the heels of an embarrassing loss at Auburn a few days earlier, the strong performance could have been simply another upward swing in a season marked by several wide swings from very good to very poor, repeating at least 4 prior times since the 6th game of the season.

What challenges does Missouri present to UK?


Tyler Ulis (Vicky Graff Photo)

Tyler Ulis (Vicky Graff Photo)

Here is what assistant coach Tony Barbee had to say about Missouri today going into Wednesday  night’s game in Rupp Arena.

“They present a big challenge. If you look at their last three games they’re playing very well. They led at Texas A&M late in the second half. They led a lot of the game at South Carolina and played them close, a team that’s been leading the league for most of the year. And they played Georgia well at home. So you look at the last three games. They’ll mix up their defenses, with man and they’ve been playing a lot of zone lately. They have some guards. Wes Clark is one of the better guards in the league. You got a senior center in (Ryan) Rossburg. He presents a challenge inside. Their freshman (Kevin) Puryear has been playing well. It’s going to be a difficult game,” Barbee said.