Kentucky had no interest in playing a close game before Christmas break.
While the CBS Sports Classic matchup against UCLA was meant to feature a quality battle between storied programs, the Wildcats scored the first 24 points of the game en route to an 83-42 win on Saturday.
Devin Booker led the way for Kentucky with 19 points to match his career high. Andrew Harrison also did a great job of setting up his teammates as he finished with eight assists to go with eight points.
Still, this one was all about the defense as the Wildcats held their opponent to 26.8 percent shooting thanks in part to 13 blocks.
Isaac Hamilton led the Bruins in scoring with 14 points.
The first half was just an onslaught that seemed to never end for UCLA.
As Kyle Tucker of The Courier-Journal pointed out, things got ugly in a hurry:
It didn't matter which platoon was on the court for Kentucky because the players showcased excellent team defense to make every possession a challenge for the Bruins. ESPN's Jeff Goodman joked about UCLA's offensive struggles:
The lead continued to balloon:
Finally, UCLA got on the scoreboard just before the second media timeout, as noted by Nicole Auerbach of USA Today:
Unfortunately for the Bruins, things only got worse. Arash Markazi of ESPN.com explained:
By the time the first 20 minutes were up, the score looked more like a one-sided football game at 41-7. Jerry Tipton of the Lexington Herald-Leader noted how bad things had gotten:
It's hard to imagine what you would say if you were head coach Steve Alford talking to his players at halftime.
The second half was not quite as one-sided, as the Bruins started to score more consistently. Of course, it was still a long way to go to even match the football team's average production, as noted by Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports:
They did eventually reach this mark, but even when they did make their shots, Kentucky was right there to continue to build its lead. Booker was especially impressive while draining five three-pointers, as Chris Fisher of 247Sports pointed out:
The entire Wildcats roster seemed to do no wrong in this game, as the team cruised to a dominant victory to move to 12-0 on the season.
This win bolsters the argument that Kentucky can not only winning a national championship but possibly end the year undefeated, too. However, head coach John Calipari argued his squad still has a long way to go, via Tim Sullivan of The Courier-Journal:
I think when you start talking about the teams that were the great teams, they had Hall of Fame players. We have yet to prove where we are in that regard. I think we're a terrific team. I think what we've been doing to keep reinforcements coming (with a two-platoon system) has made us even better and made it easier for each guy to perform at a higher level.
(But) Let this season play out before they talk in terms of those teams because, again, some of them had three Hall of Famers on their team. ... To compare us to those teams, come on.
Arguably the toughest test of the season will come in the next game. The Wildcats will go on the road to take on No. 4 Louisville on Dec. 27 in a matchup of undefeated rivals (assuming the Cardinals beat Cal State Northridge on Tuesday).
Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports discussed how big the game will be:
The contest could prove to be a preview for a Final Four game at the end of the year.
UCLA will also be on the road in the next game against Alabama, the second of four straight games away from home. The Bruins kick off their Pac-12 schedule with games at Colorado and Utah.
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