Kentucky's freshmen upstage the Lonzo Ball show

Posted April 01, 2017

"We're not anxious about who's in the crowd, and we're trying to put on a show, but we're trying to win a game at the same time". 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.

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. It has become an annual tradition for John Calipari's squad to be bursting at the seams with National Basketball Association talent.

This time, he asserted himself from the opening tip, scoring Kentucky's first eight points on a series of short-range jump shots, then finding Dominique Hawkins for a 3-point shot that tied the game at 11-11. 1 Kentucky in Rupp Arena with a 97-92 victory December 3. Ball managed only 10 points and went 1-for-6 from 3-point range, ending a remarkable freshman campaign - and likely his UCLA career - on a sour note as he was outdueled by both of Kentucky's freshman guards, particularly Fox. That wasn't a problem with Kentucky fans.

Ball and his teammates simply had no answer for Fox, as beat them on the dribble all night long. He emphatically won the much-ballyhooed match up with UCLA's point guard Lonzo Ball. Chiozza finished with eight points, five assists, and four rebounds.

Freshman TJ Leaf and Isaac Hamilton each had 17 points for UCLA. UCLA finished 15 points below its season average, turning the ball over 13 times after committing only nine in its first two NCAA Tournament games.

Maybe it was nerves or so many freshmen, but Kentucky led 36-33 at halftime after a first half that wasn't close to the fast-paced pace expected.

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By the second half, the Wildcats were running up and down the court. He hit four of his first five shots, including a pair of 3s, within the first five minutes of the second.

Malik Monk took over in the second half and scored 10 of Kentucky's first 14 points of the half.

Thomas Welsh hit a short jumper, then La Cueva alumnus Bryce Alford hit a 3 to pull UCLA within 50-49.

Sindarius Thornwell scored 24 points and seventh-seeded SC cruised past third-seeded Baylor 70-50 on Friday night in the East Regional semifinals, the Bears' worst NCAA Tournament loss.

Nigel Hayes had given the Badgers (27-10) a 2-point lead with 4 seconds left on two free throws. As for No. 4 seed Florida, the Gators went from unranked in the preseason to No. 12 in mid-February before losing three of four entering the NCAA Tournament.

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

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Fox dove for a loose ball in the second half when Ball didn't get on the floor. His counterpart, Ball, settled for 10 points off 4-of-10 shooting (1-of-6 from three) with eight assists and four turnovers.

Outspoken basketball dad LaVar Ball caught the sound and fury of Twitter last night after his son Lonzo Ball and the UCLA Bruins were ousted from the NCAA tournament. The Tar Heels connected on 54.4 percent of their shots, while Butler was at 43.5 percent.

Kentucky will play North Carolina here on Sunday at 5:05 p.m. After UCLA Loses to Kentucky in Sweet Sixteen NCAA Tournament!

PJ Dozier added 17 points for the Gamecocks, Chris Silva had 13 and Kotsar 12.

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