Photo Credit: Kentucky Sports Radio
As his Kentucky Wildcats rolled over the California-Los Angeles (UCLA) Bruins, second-year Phoenix Suns shooting guard and Kentucky alumnus Devin Booker could have nearly done the job on his own.
Kentucky avenged their 97-92 home loss in December to UCLA with an 86-75 win in the Sweet Sixteen to advance to the Elite Eight against the North Carolina Tar Heels. Booker, 20, whose final game with the Wildcats was their heartbreaking 71-64 loss in the 2015 Final Four to the Wisconsin Badgers to end their undefeated season, scored 70 points on his own in Friday night’s 130-120 loss to the Boston Celtics at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.
Booker shot 21 for 40 from the field (52.5%), 4 for 11 from 3-point range (36.4%), and 24/26 from the free throw line (92.3%) in 45 minutes of playing time to net his career-high of 70 points. He also tallied 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 block, and 3 steals.
So far this season, Booker has now played in 71 games and averaged 34.8 minutes per game, 21.6 points per game, 3.2 rebounds per game, 3.2 assists per game, 0.3 blocks per game, and 0.9 steals per game. He is shooting 42.4% from the field, 36.4% from 3-point range, and 83.5% from the free throw line.
Booker’s 70-point game was just the 11th of its kind all-time. He became the sixth different player to accomplish the historic feat as well as the first to do so since Los Angeles Lakers’ small forward Kobe Bryant scored 81 points in a 122-104 win over the Toronto Raptors on Sunday, January 22nd, 2006.
Other players besides Booker and Bryant that have accomplished this incredible feat are Wilt Chamberlain (six times: 100 points (1962), 78 points (1961), 73 points (1962), 73 points (1962), 72 points (1962), 70 points (1963)), David Thompson (73 points (1978)), Elgin Baylor (71 points (1960)), and David Robinson (71 points (1994)).
Booker and the Suns are back in action tomorrow at 1:00 PM EDT on the road at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina against the Charlotte Hornets. The Celtics are back in action tomorrow as well, but not until 6:00 PM EDT at home against the Miami Heat.