LEWIS | Skal and Willis step up in strong arming of Mizzou - WDRB 41 Louisville News

LEWIS | Skal and Willis step up in strong arming of Mizzou

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Lexington, KY (WDRB) - Sophomore guard Tyler Ulis led all scorers with 20 points in Kentucky's 88-54 thrashing of Missouri Wednesday night, but, as UK head coach John Calipari has requested from his team recently, the burden of the offense did not rest entirely on Ulis.

Freshman big man Skal Labissiere was 6-of-8 from the floor, scoring 12 points and blocking five shots. Labssiere did not haul in a rebound, which Calipari says will need to happen if the 6-11 freshman expects to play Saturday on the road at Kansas.

"What if he can't rebound in that game? Can I leave him in the game? You know I can't," said Calipari. 

Calipari says he may have "screwed up" trying to make Labissiere into the next Karl-Anthony Towns. Now, he's allowing Labissiere to shoot further away from the basket.

"I feel a lot more comfortable. I've been working really hard," said Labissiere, who was averaging 7.5 points per game coming into Wednesday's game against Missouri. "I think at the beginning of the year I had a good start, but things didn't go the way I wanted it to go. I just have to bounce back and I think I'm doing this right now."

Junior forward Derek Willis scored a career high 18 points and tied his career high with 12 rebounds. Caliapari says Kentucky (16-4, 6-2 in SEC) is a different team with Willis in the "stretch forward" role. Willis was 4-of-5 from behind the 3-point line against Missouri (8-12, 1-6 in SEC).

"Derek gives us another stretch guy that you gotta go play with Tyler, with Jamal (Murray). It let's Isaiah (Briscoe) do his thing, it posts up Alex, where he should be. It puts us all in the right spots," Calipari said.

"I'm kind of proud of myself for a lot of the stuff that I did so far," said Willis. "But you can't be content with with you're at."

Willis has scored in double figures in three of the last four games and pulled down a total of 30 rebounds over the past four games.

He said he came up three points short of his goal Wednesday night. He wanted to score 21 points, because his girlfriend turned 21 on Wednesday.

"I was kind of mad at myself for missing that last three."

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