Saturday, November 7, 2015

Kentucky Blasts Kentucky State in Final Exhibition Game

Kentucky 111
Kentucky State 58

Exhibition Final from Lexington, Kentucky

Game recap by UK:

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Skal Labissiere was a non-factor in eight first-half minutes, but Kentucky was up big anyway.

Leading 51-20 behind the potent point-guard duo of Tyler Ulis and Jamal Murray, John Calipari could have chalked the game as a bump in the road for Labissiere and moved on.

He had the opposite reaction.

“You know what I told him at halftime?” Calipari said. “We're throwing it to you every time, I don't care. You can go 1-15 or can you go prove you're the player you are.”

Labissiere responded like the potential No. 1 overall NBA Draft pick he is. The 6-foot-11 freshman bounced back from a scoreless first half to score 22 points after halftime in UK’s dominant 111-58 win in its second and final exhibition at Rupp Arena on Friday night.

“He came and talked to me, told me that they were going to go to me a lot when the second half started,” Labissiere said. “I just had to believe in myself and go out there and just play hard.”

As hard as he played, there was a little more than pure effort that went into Labissiere’s explosion.

The 6-foot-11 Port-au-Prince, Haiti native put on an incredible display of post scoring. Social-media jokes were made about Labissiere needing to wear goggles to complete his Kareem Abdul-Jabbar impression with his jump hooks, while a baseline spin move and lefty finished invoked memories of DeMarcus Cousins.

“We just said, ‘We’ll get you the ball the second half,’ ” said Alex Poythress, who looked much like his pre-injury self with 13 points, eight rebounds and four blocks. “ ’We expect you to score.’ And that’s what he did. We got him the ball in scoring positions and he put the ball in the basket.”

Perhaps the only person among the 21,238 in attendance at Rupp Arena on Friday night was Labissiere himself.

“It’s something that we work on every day at the beginning of practice with the bigs with Coach Kenny Payne,” Labissiere said. “We work on that every single day, worked on it all summer. So I just have to learn how to get more comfortable doing it in games. I was a little bit more comfortable tonight.”

Complete Recap

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