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UK Basketball: More thoughts on loss to UCLA and postgame notes

Thoughts on the loss in New Orleans to UCLA

NCAA Basketball: Kentucky at UCLA Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky faced off with a UCLA team that had been struggling but looked like a new team against us. This was a fast-paced game from the tip and UCLA was able to do to Kentucky exactly what Kentucky thought they could do to UCLA. Each team battled, and it was tied 39-39 at halftime.

UCLA came out of the break on a run and jumped out to a quick 11-point lead before Kentucky was able to battle back. However, Kentucky was never able to get over the hump, get the lead, and pull away as UCLA defeated Kentucky 83-75 in the CBS Sports Classic.

Thoughts on the game

Defense was non-existent

Kentucky could not defend UCLA whatsoever and that is concerning. Apart from Alexander our guards cannot stay in front on anyone when they drive to the rim. The only way we looked decent on defense was when we played zone and that ruined the chances of rebounds. Cal has his work cut out for him to get this team to play defense.

Kentucky gave up second chance points

UCLA was able to grab 11 offensive rebounds and get a ton of second chance points. That must improve going forward in order for this team to get where it needs to be. UCLA won the total rebounds 37-36 and it showed on the scoreboard and they must start winning the battle on the glass.

Kentucky settled for jump shots

Kentucky was at their best in the second half when they started driving to the basket but way too many times they settled for a jumper instead of getting the rim and drawing contact. This team hasn’t shot particularly well all season and it hurt them in this one. Kentucky was 6/21 from deep while UCLA made 12. Going forward they need to get to the rim and the open threes will follow.

Quade struggled

Quade Green has been a big threat offensively but struggled in this one. He was 1/7 from the field with 2 points. Sometimes players have an off night and hopefully this is the last time that happens for Green. If he isn’t scoring he can’t be on the floor because he struggles so much on defense. I don’t believe this will happen very often for Quade as he continues to develop.

Wenyen Gabriel is starting to hit his groove

Gabriel was 6/10 from the field 3-4 from deep for 16 points and was able to grab 6 offensive rebounds. This makes two straight games where Gabriel gave the Cats what they need from him and if he can keep this up it will go a long way to helping this team win games in the second half of the season.

Overall, it was a poor game for Kentucky and this team will need to bounce back next Friday when they play Louisville at Rupp.

Here are the postgame notes, courtesy of UK Athletics:

Team Records and Series Notes

· UCLA snapped a seven-game UK winning streak, dropping the Wildcats to 9-2. UCLA is 9-3.

· Kentucky leads the series 8-7, including 5-5 at neutral sites.

o UCLA has won three of the last five in the series.

· Kentucky’s next game will be against Louisville in Rupp Arena on Friday. Game time is 1 p.m. ET and it will be televised on CBS.

In the First Half

· Kentucky’s starting lineup featured Quade Green, Hamidou Diallo, PJ Washington, Kevin Knox and Nick Richards for the ninth time. That lineup has a 7-2 record.

· Diallo connected on a 3-pointer with 16:11 remaining, giving Kentucky 1,024 consecutive games with a 3-pointer.

· The first half featured two ties and seven lead changes.

· With UCLA ahead 26-21, Kentucky scored the next 13 points over 4:02 to go ahead 34-26.

o UK forced five UCLA turnovers during a Bruin scoreless stretch that took more than 5:30 off the clock.

· UCLA closed the first half on a 10-2 run, capped by a Kris Wilkes 3-pointer with 26 seconds remaining, to finish the first half tied at 39.

· Kentucky committed five first-half turnovers, tied for its second fewest in a first half this season.

In the Second Half

· UCLA scored the first eight points of the half.

o Stretched to the first half UCLA scored 16 unanswered points over 3:32 to take its largest lead – 11 points, 50-39.

o Shai Gilgeous-Alexander hit a floater at the 17:31 mark to stop what was a broader 21-2 UCLA run over 4:55 of game time.

· Starting with Gilgeous-Alexander’s deuce, UK climbed back into the game with a 9-0 run over 1:34 capped by a Knox dunk to get within two at 48-50 with 15:57 remaining.

o Knox tied the game at 52-52 when he knocked down a trey with 14:36 to play.

o UCLA went on a 10-0 run over 3:34 to take a 71-59 lead with 7:33 to play.

o Kentucky climbed back into the game with a 10-2 run over 3:16.

· UK trailed 73-69 at the under-four media timeout with 2:56 to play, but UK could get no closer than four points down the stretch.

Team Notes

· UCLA made a season-high 12 3-pointers. That was also tied for the most UK has allowed this season.

· UCLA won the rebounding, 37-36, snapping a streak of nine consecutive games in which the Wildcats won or tied on the boards.

· Kentucky attempted a season-high 68 field goals.

· UK shot 21 3s, one shy of the season high, which came a week ago vs. Virginia Tech.

· UCLA’s 83 points were the second most by a UK opponent this year. UK allowed 86 to Virginia Tech.

o UCLA shot 48 percent from the field. Only Virginia Tech (53 percent) has shot a better percentage against UK this year.

o UCLA shot 87 percent (13 of 15) from the free-throw line. That was the best percentage by a UK opponent this season.

· UK’s 75 points were its fifth fewest in a game this season.

o UK’s 11 made and 16 attempted free throws were its second fewest in each of those categories this year. UK was 3 of 15 from the line against ETSU on Nov. 17

· UCLA’s 12 steals tied Kansas for the most by a UK opponent this season. Those are the two teams to beat UK this year.

· UCLA committed 14 fouls, the fewest by a UK opponent this year. Kansas committed the second fewest fouls (15).

Player Notes

· Hamidou Diallo scored a team-high 18 points.

· He’s scored in double-figures in five games in a row.

· His 12 first-half points were the second most he’s scored in a first half. He tallied 13 vs. Vermont on Nov. 12.

· He’s finished the first half with double-digit points four times this season.

· Wenyen Gabriel scored a season-high 16 points, sparked by a career-high-tying three made 3s.

· It was his most points since his career-high 23 vs. LSU on Feb. 7, 2017.

· Kevin Knox scored 15 points.

· He’s scored in double figures in 10 of 11 games this year.

· Nick Richards had seven points, six rebounds and three blocked shots.

· Richards made 3-of-5 field goal attempts, marking an eighth straight game where he’s made at least 60 percent of his shots.

· PJ Washington scored nine points.

· Shai Gilgeous-Alexander tallied a team-high five assists.

· He’s tallied at least three assists in all-but two games this year.

Coach John Calipari

· Calipari has a 703-195 all-time on-court record.

· Calipari is now 258-55 at Kentucky.

· Calipari is 4-4 vs. UCLA in his career.