Skal Labissiere Shines In Kentucky's Final Exhibition
James Crisp/AP Photo

Skal Labissiere Shines In Kentucky's Final Exhibition

The Kentucky Wildcats faced instate Division II squad Kentucky State and made it a one-sided battle as the 'Cats put the finishing touches onto their preseason.

pat-duerr
Pat Duerr

Kentucky got off to a rough start against the Division II Kentucky State Thorobreds, but went on a 40-13 run to end the half. Despite the competition, it's safe to say these Wildcats have some energetic play.

The first half was highlighted by the play of sophomore point guard Tyler Ulis, who made defenders look silly almost every play. Ulis scored all 15 of his points in the first half and looked solid for player of the game.

Another guard showed off for the second game in a row as freshmen Jamal Murray went off for 20 points for the second straight game. The Canadian prospect is showing flashes of greatness in the preseason.

Kentucky has shown a lot of offense, putting up back-to-back games of 110+ points, but the defense has looked lazy at times. The Wildcats have tried full court press with the new shot clock and when the press gets broken, it becomes a scramble for the 'Cats. A more controlled defense needs to be found before Kentucky gets deep into their schedule.

Last exhibition game looked like a shooting drill for the Wildcats; it was the opposite for this game as both teams got most of their shots inside the paint. Kentucky State usually found their shots going into the third row courtesy of Kentucky big men.

A stat John Calipari warned about before was free-throw shooting. The team shot 70.5 percent overall, a percentage that should not be acceptable for such a guard-orientated squad.

The Thorobreds were held to 29 percent field goal shooting and found themselves losing just about every other stat battle. The Wildcats were just too much for this team to handle.

Kentucky's star forward Skal Labissiere put on a second half show after not putting up any points in the first half. Labissiere scored 22 points and nine rebounds after catching fire. The freshmen hit hooks and fadeaways consistently. It's a scary thought to believe this young man can improve.

Kentucky begins the regular season when they host Albany, and after these warm-ups, Kentucky fans have reason to be excited for the season to begin.

Statistics Leaders

Skal Labissiere: Labissiere made it look too easy in the second half as he seemed unstoppable with his shot selection. He flirted with a double-double, finishing with 22 points and nine rebounds on 9-of-12 shooting.

Jamal Murray: Murray may be on this list a lot this season. The star guard had 20 points, four rebounds and three assists on 6-of-11 shooting. When this combo guard gets going to the rim, it's hard to stop him.

Tyler Ulis: Ulis showed off some new skills and proved he doesn't just shoot and distribute. He finished with 15 points and four assists as he drove to the rim to make defenders respect his inside game.

Malcolm Smith: The sophomore guard had a poor shooting night but went 2-of-4 from deep and finished with 14 points and five rebounds on the night.

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