LEXINGTON, Ky. (WDRB) - The 22nd-ranked Kentucky Wildcats notched back-to-back double-digit victories at Rupp Arena, but now the Cats face life on the road down the stretch.
UK will take on South Carolina (20-3, 7-3 in SEC) in Columbia this Saturday and a week later, the Cats travel to Texas A&M (18-5, 7-3 in SEC).
Seven games remain for Kentucky (18-6, 8-3 in SEC) in the regular season, four of them away from Rupp Arena, where the Wildcats have won 34 straight.
"We have to have our own type of energy when we go into other team's houses...We can't let them use the home court advantage against us," said freshman guard Jamal Murray, who led UK in scoring with 24 points against Georgia.
Kentucky could face most of the February slate without forward Alex Poythress. The senior was averaging 10 points and 6.6 rebounds per game before he was sidelined with a knee issue.
UK head coach John Calipari refused to go into specifics after Tuesday night's win against Georgia.
"I don't think there's any reason to talk about it," Calipari said when asked to elaborate on the issue. Kentucky Sports Radio's Ryan Lemond reported that Poythress underwent a minor right knee procedure, but Calipari declined to comment.
While Kentucky will miss Poythress and his offensive presence in the post, Calipari says he may have to count on Isaac Humphries and Skal Labissiere. Humphries played a career-high 15 minutes in UK's 80-61 win over Florida and played 14 minutes in Tuesday's 82-48 blowout against Georgia. Labissiere has looked more comfortable offensively in the last few games, although Calipari wants to see the freshman improve on a 3-of-9 shooting night against Georgia.
"When you really work it and you get it to that two-foot spot and that guy can't make it, it's demoralizing. Not only do you miss it, it just takes the wind out of your sails so we are going to keep working," Calipari said.
"Guys are starting to understand their roles on the team," Labissiere said of UK's recent improvement. "Coach Cal did a really good job at putting us all in the right position to succeed and I think that's been the biggest adjustment."
Bullitt East grad Derek Willis may be benefiting most from his increased playing time and moving into his role as a starter. The junior forward had 11 points in the victory against Georgia, his eighth double-figure scoring game of the season.
"I still think I have a lot to work on.I'm still not really where I want to be," Willis said, adding that he's has the skill set but doesn't want to become complacent.
"I'm really proud of him. He's rebounding the ball. He's getting better defensively. Still not there. But this team believes in him and he believes in himself more," said Calipari.
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