UCLA downs Kentucky to advance to Maui title game
Maui, HI (Sports Network) – Luc Richard Mbah a Moute scored 18 points, as
fifth-ranked UCLA beat No. 20 Kentucky, 73-68, to reach the championship game
at the Maui Invitational.
Arron Afflalo tallied 14 points and Lorenzo Mata added 12 points and 11
rebounds for the Bruins (3-0), who will face No. 19 Georgia Tech in the title
contest Wednesday. The Yellow Jackets rallied from a 19-point deficit to stun
No. 12 Memphis, 92-85, in Tuesday’s other semifinal at the Lahaina Civic
Joe Crawford had 16 points and Derrick Jasper scored 12 and pulled down nine
rebounds for the Wildcats (3-1), who couldn’t overcome 17 turnovers despite
making 13-of-24 shots from the field in the second half.
The Wildcats erased a 17-point first-half deficit and actually took the lead
at 50-48 following two free throws from Jasper with 10:22 left.
Mbah a Moute tied the game with a layup, and after Bobby Perry missed a pair
of jumpers for Kentucky, Afflalo’s layup and free throw gave the Bruins the
lead again at 53-50.
The see-saw battle continued until the Bruins finally went in front for good
at 61-59 on Mata’s layup with just under five minutes left. Kentucky was
within 67-65 with under two minutes remaining and had a chance to tie, but
turnovers by Jasper and Ramel Bradley foiled the effort.
Mbah a Moute came up with a steal and a jam with 25.5 seconds remaining for a
69-65 margin. UCLA’s lead swelled to six on Afflalo’s breakaway jam.
Randolph Morris’ layup with 2.1 seconds left had the Wildcats within 71-68,
but Afflalo nailed two free throws to seal the victory.
Darren Collison had 10 points for UCLA.
Morris scored 11 and teammate Perry Stevenson had 10.
Ryan Wright’s layup pushed the advantage to 26-9 for UCLA with 8:29 remaining
in the stanza. However, Tubby Smith’s team stepped up and got within 33-27 on
Michael Porter’s three with 2:36 left until halftime.
The Bruins led 38-30 at the break.
Kentucky leads the all-time series with UCLA, 6-4…UCLA was 2-of-19 from
three-point range and 13-of-24 from the foul line.