UCLA Basketball: Bruins' Season Ends With Let Down in the Sweet 16
Mar 26 2017 by Joshua Bennett
They'll take on Butler Friday night, back in the Sweet 16 once again after a pair of relatively comfortable opening weekend wins against Winthrop and Middle Tennessee State.
The loaded South Region plays its Sweet 16 games on Friday night in Memphis.
Kentucky held on to win 86-75, with Fox going off for a insane 40-point night, while Monk added 21.
Against Butler, the Heels ensured they would not repeat that mistake, but they found another glitch to correct before facing off against a fellow blue blood: the Heels made only 64 percent from the free-throw line.
For two NCAA Tournament games, Joel Berry wasn't himself because of ankle injury.
Roll out the red carpet for the two teams who will meet for the NCAA South Regional championship game Sunday afternoon. Monk had 21 points to Fox's 39, and the two went 21-37 from the field. The over/under total for the game is listed at 153 points. The Bruins averaged 90.2 points per game coming into the matchup, but Kentucky held them to 15 points below that mark. North Carolina shot 53 percent from the field and only committed nine turnovers in the loss, but could never slow down the Wildcat offense long enough for it to make a major difference.
In successive January games, Butler made up 18- and 20-point deficits. These two players, as shown in the win over UCLA, have the capability of putting their stamp on the Wildcats program in a short time with a trip to the Final Four.
3 - The number of potential top five picks between Kentucky and UCLA.
But it wasn't almost enough to outdo Monk and Fox. Earlier this season, the Bulldogs beat the tournament's overall No. 1 seed (Villanova) twice.
Pressed into extended service because of foul trouble to both Isaiah Hicks and Tony Bradley, Luke Maye bettered his career high of 13 points in just over eight minutes midway through the first half. Maye scored the majority of the team's 23 bench points on 6-10 shooting and 3-5 from deep.
It's been a roller-coaster career for Kennedy Meeks, but he has been playing well down the stretch, and he averages close to a double-double on the year. Avery Woodson, who had a nightmare game, scored eight points. Butler's Bulldogs lack titles, but they have become the tournament darlings in recent seasons, having reached the national championship game in 2010 and 2011.
North Carolina shot 54 percent but eventually cooled off to 38 percent (9-of-24) on 3s.
"When coach Smith was at North Carolina during the season, he said, 'It's all about the team, ' " Calipari said.
North Carolina advanced to Sunday's regional final against the UCLA-Kentucky survivor. Kentucky's De'Aaron Fox mentioned the Wildcats had studied the film and noticed North Carolina scored 34 points on possessions that lasted seven seconds or under.
Kamar Baldwin drives to his left against a North Carolina defender.
Justin Jackson, the Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year and a possible lottery pick in the National Basketball Association draft, scored 24 points.