DEC 03, 2015 | MEN'S BASKETBALL
By: UCLA Athletics
LOS ANGELES - UCLA shot 53 percent from the field and held top-ranked Kentucky to a 38 percent shooting performance in an 87-77 victory in front of 12,202 fans in Pauley Pavilion.
Thomas Welsh led five UCLA players in double figures with game-highs of 21 points and 11 rebounds. Also scoring in double figures were Bryce Alford and Isaac Hamilton with 15 each, Tony Parker with 11, and Aaron Holiday with 10. Isaiah Briscoe led Kentucky with a career-high 20 points.
"I’m really proud of our guys," said UCLA head coach Steve Alford. "Obviously, we have a few freshmen who weren’t a part of last year’s game, but we have a lot of veterans here who were. When you go through what we had to go through last year playing Kentucky, it would have been real easy to show up and play tentative. We led this game for a lot of the 40 minutes and did it against this Kentucky team. For our guys to fight the way we fought against the number one team in the country was great."
It was a game pitting the two most storied programs in NCAA men’s basketball history – the 11-time NCAA champion Bruins and the eight-time NCAA champion Wildcats in Kentucky’s first-ever appearance at Pauley Pavilion. The gold-clad Bruin fans hardly rolled out the red carpet, providing a raucous home crowd advantage for the Bruins, who took the lead at 4-2 and never looked back.
The Bruins never trailed after the 18:10 mark in the first half. Tony Parker's layup broke a 2-2 tie and UCLA was ahead of Kentucky for the remaining 38 minutes and 10 seconds.
The closest Kentucky got was 22-21 with 7:59 to play in the first half, but the Bruins went on a 12-2 run to extend the lead to 34-23 with 3:25 remaining and went into the locker room at halftime up 37-29.
UCLA kept the pressure going in the second half and held a double-digit lead from the 17 minute mark until the one minute mark, peaking with a monster dunk by Prince Ali and free throw that gave UCLA a 15-point lead with 9:55 to play.
A three-pointer by Jamal Murray with 1:09 to play cut the Bruins’ lead to nine points, but three free throws by Hamilton and four missed three pointers by the Wildcats secured the win for UCLA, who improved to 5-3. Kentucky recorded its first loss of the year and dropped to 7-1.
The victory was the Bruins’ first over a No. 1-ranked team since a 96-89 overtime win over Arizona at the Staples Center on Mar. 13, 2003.
"I couldn’t be more happy and proud of this group of young men," Steve Alford said. "I think we’re going to build a lot of confidence and trust out of this; it was a great night for us."