Five things you need to know from No. 13 Kentucky’s 63-53 loss to UCLA

Five things you need to know from the No. 13 Kentucky Wildcats’ 63-53 loss to the No. 16 UCLA Bruins in the CBS Sports Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York City:

1. Kentucky’s struggles vs. ranked teams continue. UK is now 0-2 this season vs. ranked teams, having also lost to then-No. 2 Gonzaga 88-72 last month.

Since the start of the 2019-20 season, Kentucky is 8-15 against foes rated in the Associated Press Top 25.

2. Cats can’t make shots. Against a very physical, well-coached UCLA defense, UK could not get the ball in the basket.

Kentucky made only 21 of 64 field-goal tries, six of 21 three-pointers. The Cats also struggled at the foul line, making only five of 13.

On field-goal tries, Antonio Reeves went 2-of-13, Cason Wallace 2-of-13, Jacob Toppin 2-of-12 and even reigning national player of the year Oscar Tshiebwe struggled at 4-of-12.

A 78.9 percent foul shooter entering the game, Tshiebwe went 0-of-4 from the line at MSG. The UK big man did have a game-high 16 rebounds.

It’s almost impossible to beat anyone good shooting as poorly as Kentucky did.

3. A lift from the bench. In defeat, Kentucky got a breakthrough performance from freshman Chris Livingston. The 6-foot-6, 220-pound, Akron, Ohio, product had a career-high 14 points, 11 of them in the second half. Livingston could make shots — going 5-of-8 from the field, 2-of-3 on treys and 2-of-3 at the foul line. He also had four rebounds and a blocked shot.

UK also got a lift from junior big man Lance Ware. The 6-9, 235-pound, Camden, N.J., product helped UK rally from 13 down in the first half to second-half contention with physical defense against UCLA star Jaime Jaquez (19 points, 12 rebounds). Ware finished with two points and five rebounds in 14 minutes.

In the plus/minus category, Ware was plus-8. He was the only Kentucky player on the plus-side of that ledger.

UCLA’s Jaime Jaquez prepares to shoot during the first half against Kentucky on Saturday. Jaquez finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds.
UCLA’s Jaime Jaquez prepares to shoot during the first half against Kentucky on Saturday. Jaquez finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds.

4. CBS Sports Classic standings. After North Carolina’s 89-84 overtime win over Ohio State and UK’s defeat vs. UCLA, the records of the four teams who have all participated in the CBS Sports Classic doubleheader since it began in 2014-15 are: North Carolina 6-3, Ohio State 4-4, Kentucky 4-5, UCLA 3-5.

(UCLA and Ohio State have played one fewer game than Kentucky and North Carolina because the Bruins and Buckeyes did not participate in the 2021-22 CBS Sports Classic due to COVID-19 protocols.)

Kentucky is 3-1 vs. North Carolina, 1-2 vs. UCLA and 0-2 vs. Ohio State in the CBS Sports Classic.

5. Cats keep losing ground to Kansas in all-time wins. The all-time wins lead in men’s NCAA Division I college basketball changed hands last season, of course, with Kansas passing Kentucky during the 2022 NCAA Tournament.

After Bill Self’s Jayhawks won the 2022 NCAA championship after the Wildcats went out in the first round against No. 15 seed Saint Peter’s, KU ended last season with a four-win advantage, 2,357-2,353, over UK.

After Saturday’s games, Kansas has already gained three more wins over Kentucky this season. KU is currently plus-seven in all-time victories. With the No. 8 Jayhawks routing No. 14 Indiana 84-62 and UK’s defeat to UCLA, the Jayhawks (10-1) now have 2,367 wins all-time, while the Wildcats (7-3) have 2,360.

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Box score from No. 13 Kentucky basketball’s 63-53 loss to No. 16 UCLA

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