For the sixth time in John Calipari's eight-year tenure and the 42nd time in program history, the Kentucky Wildcats are in the Sweet 16.
UCLA freshman guard Lonzo Ball shocked few when he announced Friday that a Sweet 16 loss to Kentucky would be his final college basketball game.
Defense - and perhaps jitters produced by a highly-anticipated rematch - ruled in the opening 20 minutes. The Bruins' star freshman finished with 10 points on 4-for-10 shooting from the field and committed four of his team's 13 turnovers.
Monk scored 14 of his 21 points in the second half as United Kingdom avenged a regular-season loss to Bruins and advanced to the region finals against North Carolina, which beat Butler 92-80 in the first semifinal.
Ball, the potential No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft, averaged 14.6 points, 7.6 assists and 6.0 rebounds per game for the 31-5 Bruins. He was 1-of-6 from behind the arc.
Well, we know the obvious: De'Aaron Fox was absolutely wonderful against UCLA on Friday night in Kentucky's 86-75 victory that vaulted them into another rematch with North Carolina on Sunday for a spot in the Final Four.
UCLA coach Steve Alford indicated he wasn't surprised by Ball's decision, even saying he assumed it was the end of the freshman's college career.
"Very hard guarding those two", Ball said of Fox and Monk.
Fox didn't credit his 39 points or freshman teammate Malik Monk's 21 for Kentucky's success.
Ball was held to 10 points by the Wildcats and added eight assists and three rebounds.
Johnathan Motley had 18 points, 12 in the second half, for Baylor (27-8), which just couldn't get any offense going. He hit four of his first five shots, including a pair of 3s, within the first five minutes of the second.
"I think I scored like the first eight points of the game, and after that, I was like, you know, 'It's going to be a good night for me, ' " Fox said. Calipari said having played North Carolina once this season will prove to be beneficial. That was UK's 10th three-pointer, a number Kentucky had reached in only five previous games this season (and not since Valentine's Day). I've been with him for four years, played for my dad for four years, so it's been a great four years.
The Bruins made 11 of their first 15 shots in the second half, but were strangely losing ground.
DJ Dozier and Chris Silva had 12 points apiece and Duane Notice added 11 for the Gamecocks. But it didn't set up the memorable second half many hoped for.
UCLA shot 52.7% to Kentucky's 49.2%, but the Wildcats scored 14 points off 13 UCLA turnovers. Adebayo didn't score his first bucket until he threw down a dunk with 3:15 remaining. Fox led the way with 39 points on 13-of-20 shooting, and Monk had 21 points and was 8 of 17 from the floor.
Fox, in a rematch from a loss to the Bruins on December 3, had 39 points, the highest of any player in the NCAA Tournament so far this season, to go along with four assists, three rebounds, and two steals. "They are two of the best players in the country".