Yikes. The Kentucky Wildcats have had trouble with UCLA, especially in the regular season, in recent years. This year was no different, as the Cats couldn’t beat a depleted UCLA Bruins team that isn’t in the top 25. UK was a bit too confident from deep and didn’t drive the ball enough, and despite a strong comeback effort, they let UCLA get too far ahead with a 12-point lead in the second half and they couldn’t make it up.
Here are four things to know.
Tai Wynyard’s back spasms
Wynyard was out for today’s game with back spasms. The 6-10 big man from New Zealand is averaging 5.1 minutes per game this year, so there was some rotation space left to be filled today. Sophomore stretch big Wenyen Gabriel was there to fill in, as he saw a boost from his usual 21 MPG and played 25 minutes against the Bruins. He did well, scoring 16 points on 6-10 shooting including three 3-pointers. He also had six rebounds.
Gabriel was the only really good 3-point shooter this evening for the Cats, as for the most part the rest of the team struggled greatly from beyond the arc.
Kevin Knox’s dunkfest
Knox was guaranteeing his place on tonight’s highlight reel with some huge jams.
Knox seems to always be good for one of those every game, and today was no different. They made up four of Knox’s 15 points, and he also had five rebounds and three assists.
Hami stays hot
Diallo has been one of Kentucky’s biggest factors in the last five games. He put up 19+ points in each of the last four games. Today he fell just short of continuing that for five games, as he scored 18. But he still led the team in scoring, and tacked on four rebounds. He was a major part of Kentucky’s bad 3-point shooting, as he went just 1-5 from deep.
Kentucky had its best 3-point shooting game all year against Virginia Tech, and it appears as though they got a little too confident from deep. The Wildcats took 21 shots from the 3-point line and hit just six, putting the at a 28.6 percent clip from deep. Diallo was 1-5, Quade Green was 0-4 and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was 0-2 from deep.
Here is the final box score: