John Calipari’s Kentucky team did not look “ugly” — as he called it several times during preseason — against Albany on Friday night, but the Wildcats’ 78-65 win over Albany was not quite a clinic, either.
The ‘Cats turned the ball over 20 times (including five each from starting guards Tyler Ulis and Jamal Murray) while only capturing a 34-28 rebounding edge over the much smaller Great Danes.
The turning point: Albany cut Kentucky’s lead to 71-59 with 3:46 left in the second half, but freshman Skal Labissiere swatted a Great Danes shot on the ensuing defensive possession, and freshman Jamal Murray threw down a dunk on the other end. Murray then followed up a Derek Willis three-point miss with a two-handed slam to make it 75-61.
MVP: Murray. The Kitchener, Ontario, native finished with 19 points (8-of-15), eight assists, three rebounds and two steals while providing a late spark.
Memorable moment: Senior Alex Poythress picked up a technical foul in the second half after throwing Albany’s Travis Charles to the ground. Both players were ‘teed up’ in the ensuing scrum.
Cleaning up the glass: Labissiere collected his first points at the 15:56 mark of the second half with a lefty hook. He finished with nine points (3-of-5) and four rebounds, along with three blocks … Freshman guard Isaiah Briscoe sat out after bruising his knee in practice this week … Murray picked up a technical with 51.9 seconds remaining after talking back to the officiating crew.