UK BASKETBALL | Kentucky needs Tyler Ulis back on the court
12/01/2015 04:27 PM
LEXINGTON — It wasn’t pretty, and they didn’t have their floor general on the court, but the No. 1 Kentucky Wildcats grinded out a 75-63 home victory over Illinois State on Monday night to remain perfect and improve to 7-0 on the season.
Starting point guard Tyler Ulis was sidelined for the first time this season against the Redbirds after suffering a hyperextened elbow in Kentucky’s previous game against South Florida.
The Wildcats looked lost on both ends of the court without their sophomore leader in the first half, entering halftime tied 31-31 with Illinois State. But freshmen backups Isaiah Briscoe and Jamal Murray came to the rescue in the second half, combining to post 34 points and 12 rebounds to lead Kentucky to victory.
- “Without Tyler [Ulis], it’s obvious we’re not the same team,” UK head coach John Calipari said after the game. “I mean, unless you were watching another game, we’re not the same team. But it still doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t play hard and guys shouldn’t battle and fight for balls. We got beat to everything in the first half.”
Ulis leads the Wildcats in assists per game (4.3) and is second on the team in points (13.2) and minutes (32.0) per contest.
Whether or not Kentucky’s sophomore leader plays Thursday night at UCLA will depend on if he’s able to practice before leaving for Los Angeles.
- “I doubt he practices tomorrow,” Calipari said. “We’re going to travel and practice out in L.A. But, I would tell you, he probably needs to practice the next day, Wednesday, before we play on Thursday to see if he can go. If he can’t go, we’ll go as is. We’ll play with what we have.”
The Wildcats and Bruins tip off at Pauley Pavilion at 9:00 p.m. ET on Thursday, with live broadcast available on ESPN and WatchESPN.com.