Trazarien White’s 27 points leads UNC-Wilmington over No. 12 Kentucky 80-73
LEXINGTON, Ky. — Trazarien White scored a career-high 27 points to lead UNC-Wilmington to an 80-73 victory over No. 12 Kentucky on Saturday.
The Seahawks (6-2) built a 14-point lead in the first half, leading 41-33 at the break. UNC-Wilmington held off a second-half rally by the Wildcats, who were up 55-49 with 12:51 remaining.
White scored 18 of the last 31 points. It was the first road win against a ranked opponent in school history and the biggest for the program since defeating Southern California in the 2002 NCAA Tournament.
“This is a big-time win for us and a confidence booster,” White said. “We will celebrate a little bit, get back to our process, because we don’t want to revert back to before now we’re on the high road.”
Donovan Newby scored 15 points, Shykeim Phillips added 13 and KJ Jenkins had 11 for UNC-Wilmington in the first meeting between the two schools.
UNC-Wilmington coach Takayo Siddle played on a Gardner-Webb team that defeated then-No. 20 Kentucky 84-68 on Nov. 20, 2007. He defeated the Wildcats as a coach the first time he faced them.
Siddle mentioned the win “briefly” to his squad, but wanted his team to focus on the task at hand.
“It was so long ago, but my message was believe. Anything can happen and little Gardner-Webb came in here back in 2007 and we had the same outcome,” he said. “I think they understood the message I was trying to get across to them.”
Kentucky, one of he top-scoring teams in the nation, was held 20 points below its scoring average. The Wildcats (6-2) were averaging 94.4 points per game coming into the contest.
“They deserved to win the game and they did,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said. “I would have liked to have tried to steal the game from them, but they deserved to win it. They played well.”
Reed Sheppard led Kentucky with 25 points. Kentucky leading scorer Antonio Reeves scored 14 points before he fouled out with 2:56 remaining. Justin Edwards and Tre Mitchell scored 11 points each for the Wildcats.
Kentucky’s 7-foot-1 freshman center Aaron Bradshaw made his debut after missing the first seven games because of an injured foot. Bradshaw scored three points in his first outing with the Wildcats.
Kentucky was without point guard D.J. Wagner, who injured his ankle on Tuesday’s win over the Hurricanes.
Calipari began his playing career at UNC-Wilmington and played for the Seahawks for two seasons before transferring to Clarion.
UNC-Wilmington: The Seahawks played their last five games away from home, including two contests in the Fort Myers Tip-Off, but will get an eight-day break. After hosting Montreat on Dec. 10, UNC-Wilmington will play five more on the road, including a game at Arkansas on Dec. 30.
Kentucky: The Wildcats play their next three games on the road, including two at neutral sites. The Wildcats committed 14 turnovers against the Seahawks and made a season-low five 3-pointers.
Kentucky plays Penn at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Saturday.
UNC-Wilmington hosts Montreat on Dec. 10.
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