Turnovers plague UK’s home opener victory

By Jordan Ondrof

[email protected]ernel.com

@jordanondrof

UK defeated Albany 78-65 in their 2015-16 season opener, committing 20 turnovers in the victory.

The win was not as pretty as most would like and it is clear this team still has kinks to work out.

“We just don’t have the fight or the grit to really beat a good team. We don’t. We got them down 20. but you got to have grit and toughness and fight when you get somebody there, you just put them away. We’re not there yet,” head coach Calipari said.

Turnovers were the glaring issue throughout the game, allowing easy points for Albany.

“If Derek (Willis) doesn’t play in the first half, it’s probably a one-bucket game at halftime,” Calipari said.

The surprise bright spot in an otherwise dull game was the impressive play demonstrated by Derek Willis. He earned his playing time scoring 14 points and grabbing 5 rebounds.

“Derek made a lot of mistakes in the second half. But you know what? You watched and said, ‘Man, he’s just playing,’” Calipari said.

Freshman Jamal Murray continued to rack up the stat sheet scoring a team high 19 points and 8 assists. He scored the most points in an opening game by a UK freshman.

“He is the best basketball player in the country,” Albany head coach Will Brown said.

But Murray had five turnovers, and Tyler Ulis in his first game as a starter had five turnovers, something Calipari was disappointed in from his guards.

“Five turnovers and they were like, ‘Why did he do that?’ This game isn’t casual. Every game is a fist fight,” Calipari said. “The other team is trying to beat us. It’s the biggest game on their schedule. He doesn’t have that yet, but he made some big plays that stretched the game out.”

Skal Labissiere repeated what he did in the exhibition against Kentucky State, not scoring a single point in the first half but coming back a new player, scoring all nine of his points in the second half.

Isaiah Briscoe sat out tonight because of a minor injury. Calipari said he is “50/50” for tomorrows game against New Jersey Institute of Technology.