Kentucky is moving on to the Elite Eight after the Wildcats defeated UCLA, 86-75.
In a game loaded with future NBA players, De’Aaron Fox was far and away the best player on the floor, not to mention the superior point guard in the highly-anticipated matchup with Lonzo Ball.
Fox finished the game with a career-high 39 points on 13-of-20 shooting to go with four assists, three rebounds and two steals. That’s the most points ever by a freshman in an NCAA Tournament game.
Fox’s counterpart, Ball, was held to just 10 points on 4-of-10 shooting (1-of-6 from three-point range) with eight dimes vs four turnovers.
Malik Monk dropped 21 on 8-of-17 shooting, including 4-of-9 from deep. Those two were masterful in the second half, combining for 38 of Kentucky’s 50 points and almost matched UCLA’s 42.
Overheard by a fan behind us: "Fox is the real deal."— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) March 25, 2017
Yes, yes he is. pic.twitter.com/nOlK9418h1
The SEC player of the year had only seven points in the first half but hit four of his first five shots, including a pair of threes, within the first five minutes of the second.
Seniors Derek Willis and Dominique Hawkins combined for 19 points, four dimes and eight boards.
Bam Adebayo had the oddest statline of the night. The freshman forward had been a double-double machine for much of Kentucky’s 13-game win streak, but he was held in check by UCLA’s onslought of bigs.
But while Bam had just two points on 1-of-3 shooting with four boards, he did dish out a career-high five assists as he consistently made good decisions in the most.
Part of why Kentucky lost the first matchup with UCLA was Bam missing too many contested shots at the rim (finished 4-of-12). This time, Bam was in much better control and didn’t force anything, which allowed Kentucky to control the game most of the way.
Kentucky committed only six turnovers (one in the second half), and never allowed UCLA’s offense to go on a big run while being held to just 75 points. The Bruins turned the ball over 13 times, and Kentucky outscored UCLA 14-2 off of those.
The only No. 2 seed to advance to the Elite Eight, the Wildcats have now won their 14 straight games. The NCAA's winningest program will play another of basketball's titans Sunday in top-seeded North Carolina with a trip to yet another Final Four on the line.
Here is the game’s final box score:
Re-live the fun win with the latest highlights from UK: