Wild­cats win re­match, bounce Bru­ins from bracket


The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Teresa M. Walker

mem­phis, tenn.» De’Aaron Fox scored a ca­reer-high 39 points as the Ken­tucky Wild­cats beat UCLA 86-75 on Fri­day night in a show­down be­tween two of col­lege bas­ket­ball’s go­liaths for a berth in the South Re­gional fi­nal.

The only No. 2 seed to ad­vance to the Elite Eight, the Wild­cats (32-5) won their 14th con­sec­u­tive game. Now 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.

The third-seeded Bru­ins (31-5) still have the most na­tional ti­tles (11). Yet they leave their third Sweet 16 un­der coach Steve Al­ford short of the Elite Eight.

Fans lustily booed Ken­tucky coach John Cali­pari in his first game in Mem­phis since leav­ing in April 2009 for the Wild­cats. Cali­pari’s lat­est crop of tal­ented fresh­men put Ken­tucky into a re­gional fi­nal for the sixth time in seven years.

Ma­lik Monk scored 21 points for Ken­tucky, and Do­minique Hawkins added 11.

This was the fourth time these pow­er­houses have met in the past three sea­sons, and UCLA up­set then-No. 1 Ken­tucky at Rupp Arena with a 97-92 vic­tory Dec. 3.

Fox didn’t play his best in that game, tak­ing 20 shots to get 20 points. That wasn’t a prob­lem with Ken­tucky fans mak­ing the FedEx Fo­rum as com­fort­able as Lex­ing­ton. Fox scored the first eight points for Ken­tucky on Fri­day and was all over the court forc­ing turnovers or div­ing to the floor to force a jump ball.

He out­played UCLA fresh­man Lonzo Ball, who fin­ished with 10 points on 4-of-10 shoot­ing. Ball handed out eight as­sists but also had four turnovers.

TJ Leaf and Isaac Hamil­ton each had 17 points for UCLA.

Ken­tucky shut down the na­tion’s top scor­ing team, hold­ing

new york» Chris Chiozza went end to end and made a 3pointer at the buzzer to give Florida an 84-83 vic­tory against Wis­con­sin on Fri­day night in the first over­time game of this NCAA Tour­na­ment.

Nigel Hayes had given the Badgers (27-10) a 2-point lead with 4 sec­onds left on two free throws.

With no time­outs left, the Ga­tors in­bounded to Chiozza and the point guard stopped right be­fore the arc and dropped in the win­ner for Florida (27-8).

“Just try­ing to get down the court as fast as I can to get a good look,” Chiozza told TBS of the fi­nal play. “They had good de­fense and slowed me down, and that’s why I couldn’t get to the rim. I saw the clock and that I had a sec­ond left. So I knew I had an­other drib­ble and then I just took what I had.”

Wis­con­sin’s Zak Showal­ter forced over­time with a lean­ing 3pointer off one leg with 2.1 sec­onds left in reg­u­la­tion as the Badgers wiped out a 12-point deficit in the last 4:15.

The fourth-seeded Ga­tors will play South Carolina on Sun­day in an all-South­east­ern Con­fer­ence re­gional fi­nal at Madi­son Square Gar­den.

Florida is in the Elite Eight for the first time since 2014, and for the first time with sec­ond-year coach Mike White — the man who re­placed Billy Dono­van in Gainesville.

“I’m still kind of at a loss,” White told TBS. “What an un­be­liev­able shot.”

Ken­tucky frosh De’Aaron Fox drives to the bas­ket against UCLA’s Bryce Al­ford on Fri­day. Fox scored 39 points. Andy Lyons, Getty Im­ages

South Carolina play­ers cel­e­brate their 70-50 vic­tory over Bay­lor in an East Re­gional semi­fi­nal game Fri­day. Julio Cortez, The As­so­ci­ated Press

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