Kentucky-Alabama Preview

Kentucky's recent struggles away from home continued into SEC play even with another high-scoring effort from Tyler Ulis.

The sophomore guard will try to keep his ninth-ranked Wildcats from another road loss Saturday night against Alabama.

Ulis had a career-high 23 points and scored at least 20 for the third consecutive game Tuesday, but only one other teammate had more than six points in an 85-67 loss at LSU. Leading scorer Jamal Murray contributed 21 points, but Kentucky was outshot 49.2 percent to 41.4 and outrebounded 46-32 in its third consecutive loss away from Rupp Arena.

Coach John Calipari managed to change his program's fortunes from similar struggles in 2010-11. That team went 7-8 away from home in the regular season before making a run to the SEC tournament championship and the NCAA semifinals.

"This is a different group, and we've got to do this (in) a little different way. And I keep coming back to most of this is on me to figure stuff out," Calipari said. "I mean, we've done it with all kind of different teams and some of it is still trying to piece this together. Other parts of this is trying to figure out individual players. It takes time."

Kentucky (11-3, 1-1) will get to take on the lowest-scoring team in the SEC (66.4 points per game) as it tries to work out the kinks. Alabama dropped its conference opener Thursday, 74-66 at Mississippi.

Leading scorer Retin Obasohan (14.2 ppg) scored 23 points for the second straight game to match a career high. Senior guard Arthur Edwards also tied his personal best with 17 points while hitting five 3-pointers for the second consecutive game, but the Crimson Tide (9-4, 0-1) were outscored 42-26 in the second half.

"Our guys are playing hard. We just haven't figured out a way to put together a complete game against an opponent like Ole Miss here recently," coach Avery Johnson said. "We did it in Florida against (a pair of ranked teams)."

Alabama went 2-1 in a trio of matchups with then-Top 25 opponents at the AdvoCare Invitational in Orlando in November, beating Notre Dame and Wichita State. Those two teams are no longer ranked, but Xavier, a team that beat the Crimson Tide, is currently No. 10.

They have lost five straight to ranked Kentucky teams, including a pair of matchups with a No. 1 squad last season. Alabama has dropped three straight overall in the series but had won back-to-back home meetings until a 70-48 loss Jan. 17.

"I think on the road, we just need to fight harder," Wildcats guard Mychal Mulder said. "We go into the game at home and we're hyped up and I feel like we come out with great energy. Sometimes on the road, I don't feel like we start that way. So I feel like if we jump to that kind of start, we'll do well."

Alabama, which started 2-0 in SEC play last season, hasn't dropped its first two conference games since beginning 0-4 in 2007-08. Kentucky hasn't started 1-2 or worse since that same season.

The Wildcats' three-game losing streak away from home is their longest since a six-game slide to end 2012-13.

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