Unranked UCLA upsets No. 7 ranked Kentucky

The Dagger
UCLA guard Jaylen Hands (4) looks to pass against Kentucky guard Quade Green (0) in the second half of an NCAA basketball game in New Orleans, Saturday, Dec. 23, 2017. UCLA won 83-75. (AP Photo/Scott Threlkeld)
UCLA guard Jaylen Hands (4) looks to pass against Kentucky guard Quade Green (0) in the second half of an NCAA basketball game in New Orleans, Saturday, Dec. 23, 2017. UCLA won 83-75. (AP Photo/Scott Threlkeld)

There is never a bad time for an underdog upset in sports, and the latest one is a doozy. On Saturday at the CBS Sports Classic in New Orleans, the University of Kentucky Wildcats were beaten by the UCLA Bruins. Kentucky is ranked No. 7 nationally, and UCLA? They’re not ranked at all.

The final score was 83-75, and both teams fought hard throughout. The game got away from the Wildcats in the second half, and they looked overmatched at times, but that didn’t stop them from putting up some mighty fine baskets throughout the game.

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So how did UCLA manage to beat Kentucky if Kentucky was able to throw up highlight reel baskets like those? The key is in the box score. See if you can spot the Wildcats’ major deficiency.

The final box score in the UCLA upset of No. 7 Kentucky.
The final box score in the UCLA upset of No. 7 Kentucky.

If you look at three-pointers, you can see how UCLA managed to take down a No. 7 team. UCLA was  12-for-30 in three-pointers, while Kentucky was just 6-for-21. In the end, UCLA made a lot of shots like this one, and Kentucky just couldn’t.


After ending the first half tied at 39, Kentucky never led in the second half. They did get close at one point, though. With three minutes left, the Wildcats had rolled off of a 10-2 run and was within four points of the lead. But after that, nothing went their way. UCLA sunk their free throws, intercepted careless passes, and pulled away in the final minutes.

UCLA has been a thorn in Kentucky’s side for years. Even though Kentucky beat them in the Sweet Sixteen in 2017, UCLA beat Kentucky in the regular season in 2015 and 2016 — when Kentucky was ranked No. 1! And while this is just one game over a long season, this loss to UCLA could come back to haunt Kentucky in a few months. When it comes time to seed teams for the NCAA tournament, it’s definitely not going to help their chances for a favorable matchup.

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at lizroscher@yahoo.com or follow her on twitter! Follow @lizroscher

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