Kentucky's Win Over UCLA Shuts LaVar Ball's Big Mouth

The game can be streamed online free with a cable subscription via NCAA March Madness Live.

Be honest. Any elite college basketball player wants to go, go, go.

That's a stunning thing to type about a John Calipari-coached Kentucky point guard, but it's true, relatively speaking.

UCLA freshman Lonzo Ball has played his final college game.

De'Aaron Fox scored 39 points against UCLA on Friday, the most ever by a United Kingdom freshman in an NCAA Tournament game.

Where: FedEx Forum, Memphis, Tenn.

Monk followed Fox with 21 points, scoring 14 of those in the second half.

Calipari: "At the half we asked our guys, 'Are you watching this game?"

"He's just such an elite skill set as a ball handler, and his speed and quickness to get by people, you just don't see very often", UCLA coach Steve Alford said Thursday.

By the end of the game, however, Fox (39 points) and teammate Malik Monk (21 points) had canceled the Los Angeles product's season-long showcase and live audition in front of National Basketball Association brass. Why aren't you going under the screen and forcing him to take jump shots?!?!

"I think I scored like the first eight points of the game, and after that, I was like, you know, it's going to be a good night for me", Fox said after the win.

The second-seeded Cats, riding a 14-game win streak, will advance to face top-seeded North Carolina on Sunday in the South Region finals at FedExForum. The future Hall of Famer has taken Kentucky to the Elite Eight once and to the Final Four four times, including a national title in 2011-12.

The Bruins were playing in their third Sweet 16 in four years.

Junior Justin Jackson, North Carolina's leading scorer, said Fox showed signs of being good when they played for the same AAU team in Texas.

Fans lustily booed Calipari in his first game in Memphis since leaving in April 2009 for the Wildcats.

Fox didn't play his best in that game, taking 20 shots to get 20 points. Kentucky is one win away from making a third trip to the Final Four in four years. Lonzo Ball had 10 points, and his eight assists moved him past Jason Kidd into second place on the Pac-12's single-season assists list with 274. Ball scored 10 points and dished eight assists, but he also committed four turnovers and made just 1-of-6 three-pointers. Also part of the highly touted class is guard Jaylen Hands and forwards Jalen Hill and Cody Riley, all plucked from the Southern California area, and guard Kris Wilkes from Indianapolis.

T.J. Leaf and Isaac Hamilton each scored 17 points to lead UCLA (31-5).

Fox and Ball each made great defensive plays in the second half. "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". Not because of our scoring. "15 less than their average".

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 pace expected. This game will also be a rematch, as United Kingdom beat UNC 103-100 behind a remarkable 47-point performance from Monk in December.

During a stretch in the second half, United Kingdom went scoreless for almost three minutes and allowed United Kingdom to pull within four points.

Kentucky, riding Monk's hot shooting and Fox's slashing, built a nine-point lead with 11:30 left.

Seventh-seeded SC throttled third-seeded Baylor 70-50 in the first semifinal of the East Region in NY. Hawkins has scored double figures in two of Kentucky's six postseason games. But Welsh fouled out with 5:58 left. Kentucky beat them 103-100 in December in Las Vegas behind an astounding 47-point effort from Monk. Prince is tied for second with Jack Givens who scored 41 against Duke in the 1978 finals. Berry rolled his right ankle when he landed awkwardly on a 3-point attempt in the first-round rout of Texas Southern, then struggled throughout UNC's second-round escape against Arkansas. It's unfortunate that the confidence he has in his son may affect where he plays, but that's the reality. After his team's loss, he reiterated that he is very happy at UCLA and in Los Angeles.

"This was the funnest year I've had playing basketball my whole life", Leaf said.

Be Civil - It's OK to have a difference in opinion but there's no need to be a jerk. At least we know them pretty well, as far as prep goes and they obviously know us.

  • Julie Sanders