Thousands of people around the country watched what happened the last time these two teams played: Kentucky took a mind boggling 41-7 lead at the half and handed UCLA an embarrassing 83-44 loss in Chicago.
UCLA had a year to think about that deflating, humiliating defeat, and on Thursday in Los Angeles, the Bruins made it crystal clear that Kentucky wasn’t going to steal the show again this year. The unranked Bruins handed the No. 1 Wildcats their first loss of the year with a 87-77 victory at Pauley-Pavilion.
The turning point: Kentucky’s leading rebounder, junior forward Marcus Lee, exited the game four minutes and 21 seconds into the first half with a head injury. Kentucky announced he wouldn’t return and it put the Wildcats in an immediate hole on the glass for the rest of the night.
MVP: Isaiah Briscoe and Jamal Murray. Briscoe had 20 points, while Murray put up 17, and the pair tried to pull Kentucky out of its hole — to little avail.
Memorable moment: UCLA’s Prince Ali’s ridiculous dunk over Alex Poythress. (Vine from CBSSports’ Matt Norlander). With Lee sidelined, it was crucial that Poythress step up on the boards, but Ali’s dunk fouled him out with almost 10 minutes still left in the game and Kentucky down double digits. The forward had picked up his third foul with 18:13 left in the game and exactly three seconds later, he picked up foul No. 4. That left Kentucky stretched thin for some valuable minutes as he headed to the bench. After he fouled out, the Wildcats were left without both of their top two rebounders.
Starting lineup: Tyler Ulis, Marcus Lee, Skal Labissiere, Jamal Murray, Isaiah Briscoe
Off the bench: Dominique Hawkins, Derek Willis, Charles Matthews, Isaac Humphries, Alex Poythress
What’s next: No. 1 Kentucky likely won’t be No. 1 when the new AP poll comes out. They’ll take on Eastern Kentucky Wednesday at Rupp Arena.