Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Top 25 Basketball Notebook: UCLA pulls off major upset over Kentucky

(Mark Cornelison/Lexington Herald-Leader/TNS)
(Mark Cornelison/Lexington Herald-Leader/TNS)

The University of California Los Angeles Bruins shocked the college basketball world on Saturday when they soundly handed the juggernaut that is the former No. 1 ranked team Kentucky Wildcats their first loss of the season.

The No. 11 Bruins came into Lexington with a balanced attack, with six players scoring in double digits, including all five starters. Isaac Hamilton was UCLA’s leading scorer with 19, and 6-foot-10-inch freshman forward T.J. Leaf pitched in with 17 points and 13 rebounds as the Bruins maintained the momentum throughout most of the contest.

UCLA entered the contest as the nation’s third-ranked scoring team and quickly showed that it could hang with the nation’s number one-ranked squad. It was a high-scoring affair throughout, but after ending the half holding onto a 49-45 lead, the Bruins came out of the locker room ready to secure victory.

UCLA would start the second half on an 11-2 run and Kentucky would fail to make it a game again until late in the second half when the Wildcats cut what was a 14-point second-half deficit to just three points with eight seconds remaining in the game after a Derek Wills 3-pointer. The Bruins would hit two free throws to ice the game.

For Kentucky, the heroics of their freshman starters is what kept it in the game. Guards Malik Monk scored 24 points including shooting 4-for-8 from beyond the 3-point line while De’Aaron Fox had 20 points and dished out nine assists. Six-foot-10 forward Edrice Adebayo scored 18 points (including 10 of 13 free throws) and pulled down 13 rebounds in the Wildcats’ loss.

Saturday’s loss was the first home loss for the Kentucky since Feb. 27, 2014. The Wildcats will hope to use this loss as a growing experience while UCLA jumped up to No. 2 in this week’s rankings.

Baylor outplays Xavier

On Saturday, at the time-No. 9 Baylor Bears once again showed the nation it could be the most underrated team in college basketball with their big win over then-No. 7 Xavier.

It was a closely contested game through the first half, with the Musketeers leading the Bears 34-31 at the break. For Xavier, the second half would not be as closely contested as it struggled to score the ball.

After sophomore guard Edmond Sumner hit a 3-pointer to put Xavier up 51-50 with 11:15 to play, Baylor would go on a 21-2 run in the next 10 minutes to seal the upset for the Bears.

Four out of five of Baylor’s starters scored in double digits, including 24 points and five assists for junior guard Manu Lecomte.

For Xavier, junior guard Trevon Bluiett led the team with 23 points (6-for-10 from deep, 5-for-5 free throws) while sophomore guard Edmond Sumner added 19 points in the loss.

This win for Baylor only serves to add to their impressive resume of upsets. They started the season as an unranked team, but soon were moved up to the No. 20 ranking after beating then-ranked No. 4 Oregon. After a superb showing at the Battle 4 Atlantis where the Bears defeated then-ranked No. 24 Michigan as well as then-ranked No. 10 Louisville.

Zak Borrelli can be reached at [email protected].

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