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Cats too Fox-y for UCLA

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky has had some sensational individual performances in NCAA Tournament play but the best in the John Calipari era came Friday night in Memphis.

Fox scored a career-high 39 points on 13-for-20 shooting from the field and 13-for-15 at the foul line as UK knocked UCLA out of the NCAA with a n 86-75 win.

Fox scored UK’s first eight points and then put the game away at the foul line in the final two minutes.

“First of all, I just want to say thank you to my teammates,” said Fox, who had just one turnover in 36 minutes of play. “I got it going early and Coach said keep getting me the ball. At halftime I thought I was shooting too much and all my teammates said to keep doing it.”

He totally outplayed UCLA freshman point guard Lonzo Ball, the nation’s top-ranked player. Ball had 10 points on 4-for-10 shooting, eight assists and four turnovers in 38 minutes.

“Going against him got the competitive juices going,” Fox said.

It helped that Malik Monk got going. He didn’t score in the first 12 minutes and then finished with 21 points on 8-for-17 shooting. He had 10 points in just over two minutes early in the second half.

Fox and Monk combined for 38 of Kentucky’s 50 points in the second half.

And what about senior Dominique Hawkins? He had 11 points and made three 3-point shots.

Derek Willis struggled with his shot, but hit his final two late in the game. He finished with eight points, eight rebounds and four assists.

Isaiah Briscoe had just five points, but had seven rebounds and four assists. Bam Adebayo did not have a point until late in the game when he got a key dunk. But he had a career-high five assists and four rebounds.

“We gave up 97 (when UK lost to UCLA in December). I remember that. We all remember that. Today we gave up 75. That shows we have improved,” Fox said.

Now it is on to play North Carolina, a team UK beat in December when Malik Monk had 47 points.

“Be another classic. We don’t want 100 to 103. I think we are playing good enough defense we can keep this game a little lower scoring,” Fox said.

North Carolina had an easy time beating Butler Friday to advance to Sunday’s game at 5:05 EST.

“How good are they” They have gotten better. One of our guys had to get 47 for us to win at the buzzer,” Calipari said.

6 comments

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  1. Mike

    Now…..that’s what i’m talkin about!! Great game, great win, and we finally got a lead, kept it, and even built on it. UK looked great…UNC looked even better. Hope that isn’t omen to come. Fox played out of his mind and Monk wasn’t too shabby either. Shout out also to the Hawk. If it wasn’t for him, we would not have a bench. Willis hasn’t really shot that good a % all year, and let’s hope he left one of his worse offensive games behind him. Bam…I believe he played the most minutes of the game and certainly could have made a better accounting of himself other than a few assists. Surprised that coach didn’t get on him big time at halftime. He took 3 shots the whole game and seemed content catching and throwing back out. He gets very timid if there is more than 1 big man to contend with. I was think that when Welsh got his 4th foul that Bam would take over but didn’t happen. He plays that way Sunday and we don’t have a chance of advancing. You would think self motivation would be all that was needed this time of year, but it hasn’t exactly worked any different for Hump and Gabriel.

    1. Persimmon Knob

      NEGATIVE NANCY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Cats79

    Mike, even know you praise cats play your mindset hasn’t change when it comes not given any benefit doubt what will cats do against N.Carolina. I like the way we are playing as long we play defense we will go far. Go cats!!

    1. Mike

      Defense has been much better lately, but let’s not forget….I believe they shot over 60% for the 2nd half. Our perimeter did seemed to improve 2nd half as well. As everyone always says and UCLA confirmed last night, it is hard to beat a team twice is one season. Let’s hope we can change that and advance. Go Cats!!

  3. TheProfessor

    Defense was important, but not as significant last night as one might think. What really impressed me last night was in the second half, UCLA made 8-9 from 2 point range and 4-8 from 3 point range (12-17 shooting) in the first 16 minutes yet UK extended its halftime lead from 3 to 11 points at the under 4 media timeout. They did this with a complete team game (yes Fox and Monk were the scorers for the most part) that did not allow a single UCLA offensive rebound or second chance point, and forced 7 UCLA turnovers in this 16 minutes. Add to this, UCLA only got to the free throw line twice, making 1 for 3.

    The Cats shooting in this 16 minutes was not earth shattering, 9-18 from 2 point range and 5-11 from 3 point range (14-29 shooting). The Cats only got to the line 3 times in this time frame, making 4-5 free throws. The Cats only committed 1 turnover in this 16 minutes, got 5 offensive rebounds that produced 8 second chance points. The difference in number of shots, 17 for UCLA vs 29 for UK is due to the turnover margin and the offensive rebounding advantage.

    Calipari has taken UK to 5 Elite 8 games in 7 previous seasons, and is 4-1 in those games, including the 2011 win over UNC after UNC had beaten the Cats in Chapel Hill earlier in the season. Like I said before, my heart clearly screams that UK advances to the Final Four again, but I see this as a much more difficult game for the Cats than UCLA.

    Finally, I have been buying UK post season stock for the entire season, and I am not about to move into a sell mode now! Go Cats, Beat the Heels!

  4. Andy

    The key was keeping Lonzo in check and not let them shoot lights out from the 3. I do feel for the Alonzo kid. His dad ran his mouth like no other and no one put him in check. Can’t imagine the feeling in that locker room.

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