De'Aaron Fox and Kentucky show UCLA the exit

Apr 05, 2017, 01:39
De'Aaron Fox and Kentucky show UCLA the exit

Fans lustily booed Kentucky Coach John Calipari in his first game in Memphis since leaving in April 2009 for the Wildcats, but Calipari's latest crop of talented freshmen put Kentucky into a regional final for the sixth time in eight years.

Kentucky point guard De'Aaron Fox got the better of Lonzo Ball, in a big way, on Friday night in the Sweet 16.

Defense - and perhaps jitters produced by a highly-anticipated rematch - ruled in the opening 20 minutes.

Headlines from Hazard to Hollywood will celebrate the dazzling play of De'Aaron Fox, the freshman point guard who scored 39 for the Wildcats. UCLA also has three wins against Top 25 teams, while Kentucky has four wins, but Kentucky played more ranked teams in the 2016-17.

Ball had a game-high eight assists but made just four shots from the field for 10 points. Leaf leads in rebounds with 8.3 while Ball tops in assists with 7.7 and in steals with 1.9 per game. He set an NCAA Tournament freshman record with 39 points in the Wildcats' 86-75 victory, leading United Kingdom into Sunday's South Regional Final against North Carolina on a 14-game winning streak. The Bruins lead the nation in points per game (90.2) and are second in offensive rating (124.54), presenting a challenge for an athletic Kentucky squad. Six Bruins scored in double figures, and Leaf had 17 points and 13 rebounds.

"I think he's motivated just to win because they beat us the first time, outfought us the first time", Kentucky guard Malik Monk said.

Kentucky's offense also was fueled by Malik Monk, who found his shooting stroke to the tune of 21 points, including three points.

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Zak Showalter just hit an off-balance 3-pointer off his right foot for Wisconsin, tying the game at 72-all with 2.5 seconds left to cap a late comeback.

Remember UCLA beat Kentucky, 97-92, on the first Saturday in December at Rupp Arena. But the Wildcats took over from there, going on a 21-9 run to build a 13-point lead and take control in the final stages.

"They're top of the food chain", Alford said. He shook off a slow start to give United Kingdom a boost early in the second half with a flurry of 3-pointers that gave his team its first cushion of the night. "Good, then you know we're playing through De'Aaron Fox". Fox is not going to score 30-plus points every game from here on out, but the Cats scored 86 points with Derek Willis going 3-11 from the floor, and Bam Adebayo only scoring two points.

After a back-and-forth first half, Kentucky took a 36-33 lead to the break. The 75 points the Bruins scored Friday were the second-fewest they have scored this season. He hit four of his first five shots, including a pair of 3s, within the first five minutes of the second. If the game is anywhere close to the first meeting, we're in for a treat. Now the NCAA's winningest program will play another of basketball's titans Sunday in No. 1 seed North Carolina with a trip to yet another Final Four on the line.

Meanwhile, Ball finished with just 10 points and three rebounds. "At halftime I thought I was shooting too much and all my teammates said to keep doing it".

"Today, we really picked it up defensively", he said.

Fox didn't play his best in that game, taking 20 shots to get 20 points. Due to their inability to get stops, I didn't think they'd have a shot at a national championship.

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