The winning continued for UCLA as the No. 16-ranked Bruins took advantage of woeful shooting on the part of Kentucky in defeating the No. 13 Wildcats 63-53 in the second game of the CBS Sports Classic inside the World’s Most Famous Arena.
Kentucky managed to shoot just 36 percent (11-31) from the floor and was two of six from the foul line in the first half and had trouble holding the ball as the Wildcats were forced into 12 turnovers in the first 20 minutes of the game.
“We know what we’re capable of if we defend and play with the toughness we played with this week,” said UCLA coach Mick Cronin, whose team defeated No. 20 Maryland 87-60 in College Park, Md. just three days before knocking off Kentucky. “You have to be able to defend the other team.”
UCLA used an 8-2 scoring run early in the first half to break away from a 7-7 tie to build a 15-9 edge with just under 14 minutes left to go in the half. It was a lead the Bruins would not relinquish the rest of the way, including a 37-25 lead at the intermission.
Out of the break, Kentucky coach John Calipari inserted freshman Chris Livingston and junior Lance Ware into the lineup.
The move paid off right away as the Bruins went on a 15-3 run of their own to tie the game at 40-40 with 14:25 to go in the game when Ware dished off to Livingston, who connected on a jumper to knot the contest.
“We need toughness on the floor,” the Kentucky coach said. “Whey (UCLA) started bullying us a little bit, the game slipped.”
UCLA outscored the Wildcats 23-13 to secure the win and improve to 8-8 in the all-time series between the two storied programs.
Jaime Jaquez Jr. posted a double-double in leading the Bruins to the win. He finished with 19 points, including 12 in the first half, and 12 rebounds, eight of which came in the first 20 minutes, as UCLA (10-2) won for the seventh straight time since losing to Illinois (79-70) and Baylor (80-75) at the Continental Tire Main Event in Las Vegas Nov. 18-20.
Jaylen Clark and Tyger Campbell both added 15 points for the Bruins in the victory to join Jacquez in double figures.
Livingston finished with a team-high 14 points for the Wildcats while teammate Sahvir Wheeler chipped in with 11 points and six assists.
Kentucky standout Oscar Tshiebwe was held to just eight points in the game by a stout UCLA defense, but the six-foot, nine-inch senior did collect a game-high 16 rebounds, including eight on the offensive end.
The Bruins forced Kentucky into a season-high 18 turnovers in the game.
A native of Bismarck, N.D., Ray is a graduate of North Dakota State University where he began studying athletic training and served as a student trainer for several Bison teams including swimming, wrestling and baseball and was a trainer at the 1979 NCAA national track and field championship meet at the University of Illinois. Ray later worked in the sports information office at NDSU. Following his graduation from NDSU he spent five years in the sports information office at Missouri Western State University and one year in the sports information at Georgia Tech. He has nearly 40 years of writing experience as a sports editor at several newspapers and has received numerous awards for his writing over the years. A noted sports historian, Ray is currently an assistant editor at Amateur Wrestling News.