Cats Win SEC Opener Over Ole Miss
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky guard Tyler Ulis made an impression on Andy Kennedy.
The Mississippi coach heaped praise on Ulis after he had 20 points and 10 assists to help No. 10 Kentucky beat Mississippi 83-61 on Saturday night in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams.
"I think he is best point guard in college basketball," Kennedy said. '"He just kind of skates through. When he is making shots, he is very difficult (to stop)."
Ulis set the tone for the blowout, scoring seven of Kentucky's first nine points. He pounded his chest after connecting on a layup igniting those in attendance, including his parents.
"There was just a lot of energy," Ulis said. "The crowd was going crazy. I was actually looking for my parents but they had changed seats. I finally found them."
Kentucky coach John Calipari was pleased with the way Ulis performed on both ends of the court.
"He is a good player and also took on a challenge (of facing Ole Miss scoring leader Stefan Moody)," Calipari said. "He is out to prove who he is. I just want a team full of guys that want that."
Sparked by Ulis, Kentucky (11-2) ended the Rebels' seven-game winning streak and limited Moody to eight points in the first half, hindering the Rebels' hopes for an upset.
Jamal Murray made four of Kentucky's seven 3-pointers and had 18 points. Marcus Lee added 13.
Despite a slow start, Moody led the Rebels (10-3) with 23 points. Sebastian Saiz followed with 12.
The Wildcats held a 14-11 advantage with 10:29 remaining in the first half and put the game away with a 23-3 run, pushing it to 37-14 with 3:40 remaining in the first half.
Murray made two 3-pointers during the decisive spurt and finished with 11 points in the opening half.
Kentucky led 46-22 at the break and didn't let up in the second half.
Ole Miss struggled from the field, especially in the first half, shooting 23 percent (6 for 26). The Rebels fared better in the second half and finished 20 of 50 from the floor for 40 percent.
A year ago, Ole Miss took the Wildcats to the wire before losing 89-86 in overtime, but failed to duplicate the performance.
"We lost a lot of guys that were part of that run," Kennedy said. "I thought the moment might have been a little big for them early."