John Henson's shot was blocked in the final seconds by Anthony Davis and Kentucky held on to defeat North Carolina 73-72 in a game that lived up to the billing.
Henson grabbed a ball towards the right baseline that was lost by Tyler Zeller in the paint. Davis deflected the shot and the Wildcats rebounded and held on as time ran out.
North Carolina lit it up from behind the three point line going 11-18 for the game, led by Harrison Barnes, Reggie Bullock and P.J. Hairston who ended up playing in the game despite an injured wrist. The Tar Heels took a 5 point halftime led on the heels of the hot shooting.
In the second half, Carolina was able to counter when Kentucky made runs but with 7:30 left to play they took a 61-60 lead that they never relinquished. The Wildcats built that lead to 5 but the Tar Heels scrapped back to cut the lead to one and had the ball following Marquis Teague's missed free throw with 21 seconds to play before the final sequence of plays.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist led Kentucky with 17 points and 11 rebounds while Tyler Zeller finished with 14 points and 8 rebounds in the loss. Harrison Barnes chipped in 14 points while Henson finished with 10 points and 8 rebounds. Kendall Marshall had 8 asssists on the day.
Kentucky out rebounded Carolina 36-33 and forced 13 turnovers while only turning the ball over 9 times. They held North Carolina to 41.7% from the floor on the game.
The loss drops the Tar Heels to 6-2 on the season and they will be back on the court against Evansville at home on Tuesday. This game starts a streak of 9 straight games played at the Smith Center. Carolina does not leave Chapel Hill until January 14 when they travel to Florida State.
(photo courtesy of Associated Press)