NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Aaron Holiday capped a 20-point performance with a pivotal driving scoop and two free throws in the final 33 seconds, and UCLA upset No. 7 Kentucky 83-75 on Saturday.
Kris Wilkes also scored 20 points, and Thomas Welsh added 13 points and 11 rebounds for UCLA (9-3), which won for the seventh time in 15 meetings between these historical college basketball powerhouses.READ MORE: Justin Dean Evans Charged With Molesting Teen Boys In Anaheim Afterschool Program
Hamidou Diallo scored 18 points and Wenyen Gabriel added a season-high 16 points for Kentucky (9-2), which lost for the first time in eight games.
Kevin Knox had 15 points for Kentucky on an array of perimeter shots and slashing dunks, but Kentucky didn’t shoot well overall. The Wildcats went 6 of 21 from 3-point range and were outshot overall, 47.5 percent (29 of 61) to 42.6 percent (29 of 68).
Kentucky hit only two of 10 3-point shots in the first half.
Yet when Gabriel made the Wildcats’ second 3 17 minutes into the game, Kentucky led 37-29.
But Jaylen Hands’ layup and Welsh’s 3 ignited what grew into a 21-2 Bruins run, putting UCLA ahead 50-39 early in the second half. Welsh and Ali each hit two 3s during the pivotal surge.
Kentucky didn’t go down easily, though. Knox hit two 3-pointers and a soaring baseline dunk during a 13-2 Kentucky spurt that tied it at 52 and spiked the volume of the evidently pro-Kentucky crowd at the CBS Sports Classic.READ MORE: Crews Working To Contain Casitas Fire Burning Near Ojai; Evacuations Ordered For Some Residents
But Welsh again helped spark a UCLA spurt with a steady jump shot as the crowd urged on the Kentucky defense, and the Bruins built their lead back to 12 on Holiday’s free throws before Kentucky made one last charge that came up short.
UCLA: Hands, who scored 14 points on 5-of-10 shooting, and Prince Ali, who had 12 points on 4-of-7 from the field, gave the Bruins the balanced, efficient scoring they needed to hold off an explosive but inconsistent Kentucky squad.
Kentucky: The Wildcats demonstrated the requisite athleticism and talent to win the game with spectacular highlights on both ends of the court. Ultimately, they were done in by careless passing and a propensity to settle for deep or difficult shots against a team playing well enough to make them pay for their mistakes. Some of their 14 turnovers — including nine in the second half — were caused by UCLA’s sound positioning and active hands. But others were passes to spots vacated by teammates who apparently were not on the same page.
UCLA returns to Pac-12 play when the Bruins host Washington State on Thursday night.MORE NEWS: LA County Business Owners Anticipate COVID Restrictions Lifting Tuesday
Kentucky is back home on Friday to host in-state rival Louisville.