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Tyler Ulis insists legs are “good” despite off-shooting game

John Calipari says Derek Willis, left, won't play at Florida tonight. Without him, Tyler Ulis says UK has a hard time spreading the defense. (Vicky Graff Photo)

John Calipari says Derek Willis, left, won’t play at Florida tonight. Without him, Tyler Ulis says UK has a hard time spreading the defense. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Tyler Ulis saw nothing coming to make him anticipate he would miss 15 of 20 shots at Vanderbilt like he did Saturday.

“It happened and I just have to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Stay in the gym and keep playing,” he said Monday.

He’s played 34 or more minutes in nine straight games, including all 45 minutes in overtime losses at Kansas and Texas A&M. Even coach John Calipari has worried if he might be wearing down.

“No I was fine (at Vanderbilt), my legs were good. I just had an off-shooting night. I wish I would have shot the ball better, maybe it would have been a different type of game. But it happens,” he said.

Actually, it has happened in three of the last four games. At Tennessee, he was 3-for-15 from the field when UK blew a 21-point lead and lost. Against Alabama, he was 5-for-13. Throw in the 5-for-20 at Vanderbilt and he’s 13-for-48 from the field in those three games, including 1-for-14 from 3-point range. Between the Tennessee and Alabama games, he was 7-for-13 against Texas A&M and 3-for-5 on 3-pointers.

He admits not having injured forward Derek Willis’ outside shooting threat makes it harder to spread the defense.

“That’s a big part of our team, but we’ve played without him and we’ve played well. So we can’t blame it on that. It’s just a fact – honestly, I feel like if I shot the ball a lot better, we would have been able to win that game (at Vandy), been in a better position to win or something. Without Derek, it is hard to space the floor, but hopefully he gets back soon,” Ulis said going into tonight’s game against Florida.

Ulis says the pressure does not bother him and he’s more focused on Florida.

“I’ve played Florida for the last two years, so I know a lot about them. I know their guards, guys like (Dorian) Finney-Smith, can shoot the ball, stretch the floor for them, something Derek did for us. We just have to make sure we come ready to play,” he said.

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