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KENTUCKY 73 NORTH CAROLINA 72
By: Jeff Meadows
Lexington, Kentucky (Rupp Arena)- In a game that was expected to be a "Knock down-Drag out", was exactly that as #1 ranked Kentucky’s young gun, 6’9 freshman (F) Anthony Davis made a veteran play by blocking #5 UNC’s 6’11 sophomore (F) John Henson’s shot with 5 seconds remaining in regulation. Davis who rebounded his own block then outlet the ball to streaking teamate, freshman (G) Doron Lamb as the UNC players stood still and the time ran out, giving the Wildcats of Kentucky a 73-72 victory over UNC.
FIRST HALF LIVES UP TO THE HYPE
The 1st half was full of rough, tough, hard play and exciting finishes as UNC’s 6’7 freshman (W/F) P.J. Hairstain (who was questionable to play due to a previous wrist injury) gave the Tar Heels a lift by hitting a pair of 3’s and "Super Sophomore" 6’6 (W) Harrison Barnes also got in on the act by hitting a deep 3 of his which helped give the Tar Heels a somewhat, commanding 9 point, 34-25 lead. The youthful Wildcats would make a small run behind the extremely active play of 6’7 freshman (F) Michael Kidd-Gilchrist who seemed to finish the majority of inside scores for the Wildcats who would UNC’s lead down to 5, 43-38 going into the half.
SECOND HALF THRILLER
As the 2nd half got underway one thing that became obvious was the fact that this game was going to go down to the wire as Kentucky continued to made big shots and big plays but UNC would continue to match KU with a big play or big shot of their own. Kentucky’s 6'3 freshman (G) Doron Lamb began the 2nd half with scoring on back to back lay-ups to tie the game at 56. Late in the half once again Kentucky’s freshman (G) Doron Lamb came up big when he hit a deep 3 in the corner which blew the roof off of Rupp Arena, giving the Wildcats a 69-64 lead with 3:11 remaining in regulation. Immediately following a Roy Williams time out, Harrison Barnes answered Lamb’s 3 with a 3 of his own cutting Kentucky’s lead down to 2 points, 69-67. With 1:35, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was fouled by John Henson which sent Gilchrist to the line where he made both attempts, building Kentucky’s lead to 4, 73-69. With 47 seconds left in regulation, UNC’s Reggie Bullock hit a deep three, cutting Kentucky’s lead down to 1. 73-72. Kentucky’s 6'2 freshman (G) Marquis Teague was fouled by UNC's 6'2 sophomore (PG) Kendall Marshall, sending Teague to the line to shoot a 1-1 which would have put Kentucky up by 2, forcing UNC to have to make a 3 to tie the game and send it in to over time but Teague missed the front end of the 1-1 rebounded by Zeller, giving UNC a chance to come away with the upset.
WOULD TEAGUES MISSED FREE THROW COST KENTUCKY
With just under 10 seconds remaining in regulation, UNC’s Kendall Marshall dribbled the ball down the court then spotted what seemed to be an open John Henson (key word, seemed), Henson received the pass from Marshall, turned and shot the mid range jumper and seemingly out of nowhere came Kentucky’s freshman (F) 6’9 Anthony Davis to block Henson’s shot, rebound and outlet the ball to a streaking Doron Lamb who then ran the time out, final score KENTUCKY 73 NORTH CAROLINA 72.
DID YOU KNOW
Obviously, this game featured highly toughted NBA prospects on both sides but did you know that this game featured 8 of the 50 players that are on the "Naismith Preseason Watch List".
As exciting as the first half was the second half was just as exciting. Each time Kentucky made a big shot or big play, UNC would immediately answers back with a big shot or big play of their own which seemed to confuse the young but talented and skilled Wildcats. Watching this game afew things were apparent and one of those things is that Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Anthony Davis and Doron Lamb are big time players. While Gilchrist may have the most impact now, Davis will be the most effective later. Doron Lamb is good now and will be just as good if not better later mainly because of his high skill level and big game mentality. Having said all of that, North Carolina could have and should have walked away with a win but their inability to make or come up with the big play or plays late in the game is what cost them, which makes me ask a very interesting question: "Is experience overated in college basketball"? I guess it depends on who you ask but in regards to the NORTH CAROLINA/KENTUCKY game, my answer would have to be yes but something tells me that we will be seeing these two meeting up yet again sometime in March of 2012 and at that time, I'm sure that the question will resurface, "Is experience overated in college basketball".
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