LOS ANGELES (AP) — Thomas Welsh led five players in double figures with 21 points and UCLA knocked off No. 1 Kentucky 87-77 on Thursday night in the Bruins’ first victory over a top-ranked team since 2003.
Bryce Alford and Isaac Hamilton added 15 points each, Tony Parker had 11 and Aaron Holiday 10 for the Bruins (5-3), who led almost the entire game and shot 53 percent from the field. They last beat a No. 1 team on March 13, 2003, defeating Arizona 96-89 in overtime.
Some fans dashed onto the court to celebrate at the buzzer, but the majority were held back by security.
Isaiah Briscoe led Kentucky (7-1) with 20 points. Jamal Murray added 17 and Derek Willis added 11.
The Wildcats had five players in foul trouble, including Alex Poythress, who fouled out with four points with under 10 minutes left. They lost a regular-season game for the first time since March 8, 2014, at Florida.
Kentucky shot its worst of the season at 38 percent.
The result was a dramatic turnaround from last December, when the Wildcats dealt the Bruins a 39-point drubbing in Chicago. Kentucky opened that game with a 24-0 run and led 41-7 at halftime.
This time, the Bruins dominated from the start, going on a 9-0 run after Kentucky scored the game’s first basket. They ran off 10 straight points later in the half, when the Bruins shot 50 percent and led by 11.
UCLA opened the second half with a 17-10 spurt to build its largest lead of 15. Welsh and Parker, who both had two points in the first half, scored six points each.
The Wildcats couldn’t get their offense in gear, appearing to try to do too much in a desperate bid to reduce their double-digit deficit. They got within single digits just once — early in the second half. Willis’ three-point play got them to 67-57 before consecutive baskets by Hamilton and Welsh pushed UCLA’s lead to 71-57.
The Wildcats lost starting forward Marcus Lee, who sustained a head injury in the first half and didn’t return.
The Bruins led 37-29 at halftime after holding the Wildcats to their worst first-half shooting percentage (37.5) of the season. Kentucky missed 10 of its last 13 shots.
Skal Labissiere’s lone basket of the half left Kentucky trailing 22-21. The Bruins closed the half on a 17-8 run, including 10 straight that produced their largest lead of 11.
Kentucky: It was the Wildcats’ first visit to Pauley Pavilion. Kentucky played UCLA in LA in 1951 and ’61 before Pauley was built. … The Wildcats are No. 2 behind UCLA with eight national titles. … They lost to UCLA for the first time since the 2006 Maui Invitational. … They still lead the all-time series 7-5.
UCLA: Hall of Famers Jerry West and Oscar Robertson sat together… Shaquille O’Neal was on hand. … The arena’s seats were covered with gold T-shirts proclaiming UCLA’s record 11 national championships, the last of which they won 20 years ago. … As part of the home-and-home series, the Bruins will play for the first time at Rupp Arena next December. … Thursday marked the 50th anniversary of the first official game at Pauley, with the Bruins beating Ohio State 92-66. Mike Warren, who played in that game, served as honorary captain Thursday. … Other Bruins greats on hand were Jamaal Wilkes, Baron Davis, Toby Bailey and Luc Mbah a Moute, and on the women’s side Ann Meyers-Drysdale and Denise Curry.
Kentucky hosts Eastern Kentucky on Wednesday.
UCLA hosts Long Beach State on Sunday.