Dedicated to the HATRED of all things trOJan


High Spurts — UCLA travels to New Orleans and beats #7 Kentucky 83-75 in a game of runs, riding a 21-2 mid-game blitz to a 12-point, second half lead, and riding clutch play in crunch time from Aaron Holiday to hang on;  Holiday scores 20 despite SEVEN Turnovers, and Kris Wilkes adds 20 Points in the Bruins’ THIRD win over the Wildcats in the last 3 years

Happy Holiday.  There was NO L for the Bruins two days before Christmas, as Aaron Holiday and unranked UCLA stunned the #7 Wildcats — and the whole College Basketball World — 83-75.  No one expected the Bruins to win, especially after finding out in the last 24 hours that their two Freshmen embroiled in the China incident were now suspended for the entire year.  The Bruins figured to be depressed, tired from traveling, demoralized from losing to Michigan and Cincinnati and almost losing to South Dakota, not to mention being over-matched against a long, talented Kentucky squad.

But that’s not the way it played out.  Kentucky Coach John Calipari may have found a nemesis in Steve Alford, who has now beaten Cal’s Cats 3 times:  2015, 2016, and now 2017.  This latest victory actually avenges the loss to KY in last year’s Sweet 16, but still, Alford has won 3 of the last 5 head-to-head, with (arguably) a LOT less talent.

On Saturday, the Bruins got off to a good start, leading the game by about a half-dozen midway through the first half, when, like in previous games, they hit a major drought.  Kentucky scored 13 straight and built an 8-point lead, but UCLA came back with a 10-2 spurt to tie it at halftime 39-39.

The Bruins’ momentum carried into the second half, as their perimeter shooting carried them to a 12-point lead.  Of course, UK did not quit, using a tough zone defense to force UCLA into a slew of Turnovers.  Holiday committed 7 Turnovers all by himself, but he redeemed himself with EIGHT Assists and 20 Points, including the crucial buckets down the stretch that kept the Cats at bay.  Kris Wilkes added 20 himself in one of his best games, and Jaylen Hands came off the bench with 14.  Thomas Welsh had yet another Double-Double with 13 and 11, and also had THREE STEALS!  Gyorgy Goloman scored only 2 Points, but he played with intensity and toughness, grabbing 7 Boards, and notching 2 Blocks, 2 Assists, and 2 Steals.  The last steal came with 29 seconds left and helped clinch the victory.  Prince Ali added a dozen Points, and Alex Olesinski contributed as well, with 4 Caroms and 2 Steals to go along with his 2 Free Throws.

The Bruins won by hitting 12 3-pointers — That’s twice as many as the Wildcats sank.  UCLA also won thanks to their improving Defense, and their renewed (at halftime) emphasis on Rebounding, actually out-boarding the lengthy, lanky Cats for the game, 37-36.  Additionally, hitting 13 of 15 Free Throws (86.7%) didn’t hurt either.

The Bruins now have their “signature” win, which will push them over the bubble if they have a respectable Conference record.  The Pac-12 season starts in 5 days, and the Bruins will surely dive into it with a new-found confidence, thanks to this huge upset of Kentucky.  But considering that UK’s average age is 19 and they will improve by leaps and bounds before March, let’s hope if the Bruins DO make the NCAA Tournament, that Kentucky is not in the Bruins’ region.  Florida knocked the Bruins out a bunch of times in a short period — let’s not have Kentucky start doing it multiple times as well!

Now one final, UNPOPULAR comment:  While lots of Bruin fans think these extended suspensions are too harsh, I personally think just the opposite.  I think they are too lenient, and I would prefer for UCLA to be permanently rid of any connection to the fiasco in Asia.  I realize that these guys may have not been the actual “perps,” and may have just been along for the ride, but I want a thoroughly CLEAN reputation, so having them still in Westwood taints the school’s image, and that’s not the way I want it to be.  So yeah, they may be unwitting “victims of circumstance” in this nightmare, but without any PROOF of that fact, this stigma won’t go away as long as they are still Bruins.  I hope they transfer, and find happiness far away from the shadow of this scandal. But it appears they intend on staying, so I guess I am hoping that they somehow get exonerated, or at least a new, bigger scandal across town dwarfs this one and makes everyone forget about sunglasses.

"KENTUCKY + BOURBON = YUMMY; KENTUCKY + BOURBON STREET = CRUMMY" was published on December 24th, 2017 and is listed in Blue & Gold News.


  1. Frank wrote,

    What basis do you have for hinting that Riley and Hill were somehow less guilty than Ball? Just curious.

    [T-H’s Note: Very good question. I do not have any insider information. I just wanted to hedge my bet. What I mean by that is –> I know that my desire for a squeaky-clean program is harsh, especially if a couple of teenagers were just caught up in some hi-jinx and did not really premeditate a crime. So I wanted to overtly ALLOW for the possibility that these two weren’t as culpable as it may seem. I don’t want my strict zero-tolerance attitude to besmirch their reputations, just in case. Also, the RUMOR was that it was Ball’s credit card that was declined, so it seems possible that it was an angry Ball who retaliated for that perceived slight by starting the theft-ball rolling. Even though I want anyone remotely involved to be eradicated from UCLA so that this scandal can die a quick death, I would feel bad for these kids IF they were just bystanders unable to persuade their friend to do the right thing.]

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