In a matchup against a player considered to be one of the top big men in next year's NBA Draft, Kentucky freshman Skal Labissiere, UCLA sophomore center Thomas Welsh scored a game-high 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in leading the Bruins to an 87-77 upset at Pauley Pavilion. Labissiere was held to just six points and one rebound.
The Bruins shot 53 percent from the field, paced by Welsh's 8-for-11 performance while holding UK to a season-low 38 percent. No opponent had shot higher than 46 percent against the Cats this season. Kentucky had not shot lower than 45 percent.
"They were tougher, and that's what we've been talking about for a while," UK coach John Calipari said. "... This was a spanking."
"We didn't have the right mindset coming into this game... a little lackadaisical," said UK junior forward Derek Willis, who had 11 points off the bench. "They came out and punched us in the mouth."
UCLA (5-3) also got 15 points apiece from the backcourt of Isaac Hamilton and Bryce Alford.
Kentucky (7-1) was led by freshman guard Isaiah Briscoe with 20 points. Backcourt mates Tyler Ulis and Jamal Murray had a rough night from the field, combining to hit only seven of 28 shots. Ulis played despite recovering from a hyperextended right elbow. The Cats also lost junior center Marcus Lee to an apparent concussion in the first half against the Bruins.
In this AllWildcats "Rapid Recap" feature, we touch on some of the quick hitters from UCLA's win...
Kentucky suffered through an 0-for-7 field goal drought midway through the first half as a one-point game quickly escalated into an 11-point UCLA lead. Four different players scored for the Bruins during the 10-0 spurt, including two buckets by Hamilton, which gave them a working margin they would never surrender. The Cats could get no closer than 10 in the second half.
BY THE NUMBERS:
1st - Trip to historic Pauley Pavilion in Westwood for the Cats. The Bruins will make their first trip to Rupp Arena next season.
+1 - Rebounding advantage for UCLA, the first time UK was beaten on the boards this season.
9 - Assists for UK point guard Tyler Ulis.
:30 - Time UK led in the game, the first 30 seconds on an Isaiah Briscoe jumper.
87 - Points were the most allowed by UK since a January 28, 2014, 87-82 loss at LSU.
636 - Days between regular-season losses for Cats, who last dropped one March 8, 2014, at Florida.
"They out-played us, they out-coached us, they out-hustled us, they out-toughed us," Calipari on UCLA. "Everything you could do better, they did it better than us."
Kentucky returns to action Wednesday, Dec. 9, against Eastern Kentucky in a 7 p.m. ET tipoff at Rupp Arena. The game will be broadcast by ESPN2.