Kentucky holds UCLA to single digits in 1st half

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Chicago, IL ( - Devin Booker scored 19 points and top-ranked Kentucky put on a defensive clinic in an 83-44 obliteration of UCLA in the CBS Sports Classic.

The Wildcats opened the game on a 24-0 run and allowed just three field goals on 37 shots from the Bruins in the first half en route to building a startling 41-7 lead at the break.

The seven points were the lowest total in a half in UCLA's storied history and the fewest Kentucky has permitted in a period since 1943.

"That's our good game right there," Wildcats head coach John Calipari remarked. "That's as good we go."

UCLA finished a miserable 25.4 percent from the field and 1-of-4 from the foul line, committed 15 turnovers and had 13 shots rejected by the Wildcats' suffocating defense.

"If they continue to play at that level defensively, I'm a firm believer they've got a chance to run this thing out. They're that good," UCLA head coach Steve Alford said of Kentucky.

Aaron Harrison chipped in 15 points and Andrew Harrison dished out eight assists to help Kentucky (12-0) dominate from start-to-finish in its final test before next Saturday's showdown with No. 4 Louisville.

Isaac Hamilton had 14 points and Bryce Alford finished with 13 for UCLA (8-4), though neither scored during the Bruins' humiliating opening half.

UCLA's dubious performance began with the Bruins misfiring on their first 17 attempts with three early turnovers mixed in, while Kentucky conversely started off red-hot to quickly turn this matchup between two of college basketball's all-time great programs into a laugher.

The Wildcats went 6-of-9 from the floor to open the contest, including a pair of Aaron Harrison 3-pointers that had Kentucky up 16-0 just over 3 1/2 minutes in.

After a temporary cold spell from Kentucky, Booker knocked down a pair of treys in front of a transition dunk that extended the lead to 24-0 with still 12:40 left in the first half.

"They took our confidence out of us right at the beginning of the game and they put it to us from then on," Bryce Alford said.

Kevon Looney's layup 12:17 before intermission finally got the Bruins on the board, but UCLA didn't record its second basket for nearly five more minutes as the Wildcats stretched the margin to 28-2.

Kentucky ended the half on a 7-0 run to account for the 41-7 spread, with the Wildcats getting 16 fast-break points and swatting eight shots over the initial 20 minutes.

The Bruins were more competitive in the second half but continued to lose ground, with Kentucky's lead swelling to 46 points following a 12-2 spurt highlighted by two more Booker threes. The second preceded Dakari Johnson's dunk off an Aaron Harrison feed that had UCLA down by a whopping 66-20 score with 9:15 to play.

Game Notes

UCLA's previous record for fewest points in a period was 14 ... Kentucky also allowed seven first-half points in a 61-14 rout over Carnegie Tech on Dec. 28, 1943 ... UCLA guard Norman Powell, averaging 17.4 points per game coming in, was held to two on 1-of-13 shooting ... Kentucky has started a season with 12 consecutive double-digit wins for the first time in school history ... The Wildcats had 20 fast-break points to UCLA's none ... Kentucky's eight national titles are second only to the Bruins' 11.