This South final featured Kentucky with the most tournament wins all-time with 124 and North Carolina just behind with 120.
Dominique Hawkins and Isaac Humphries were up to the task. The next, the Tar Heels were moving on to the Final Four.
But it wasn’t to be.
UNC’s last meeting with Kentucky came down to the final seconds, and that could be the case again on Sunday when the two square off in a 1-versus-2 Elite Eight showdown.
However, UNC went on a 12-0 run (including six points from Pinson) to take a 71-64 lead with 54 seconds left. Maye scored the majority of the team’s 23 bench points on 6-10 shooting and 3-5 from deep.
Late scoring run – It looked like the Wildcats might pull off an upset until North Carolina went on a 12-0 run late in the second half.
Kentucky’s De’Aaron Fox’s points in the game against UCLA.
United Kingdom sorely needed Hawkins’ production, as Fox picked up two quick fouls in 40 seconds and was forced to the bench with 12:23 remaining in the first half.
Each time someone asked Fox a question, Calipari or a teammate interrupted to say the guard was not allowed to answer any more questions. Malik Monk totally rocked that game bringing in 47 points and bragging rights for the winning 3-pointer, while Carolina’s Justin Jackson racked up a respectable 36 points. It came in a thrilling 10 seconds of basketball in which Kentucky tied the game with a three and Carolina stormed right down the floor for the game-winner by Luke Maye. Despite a slight lull in performance midway through the season, Kentucky has won 14 straight games. Assists-Kentucky 16 (Briscoe 8), North Carolina 17 (Jackson 4).
“We’re still playing basketball, so I’m not talking about leaving”, Fox said.
Both teams are dramatically better on defense than the earlier game, so this should be a bit more of a grind. He’s not expecting the kind of up-and-down shootout that transpired the first time these teams played.
United Kingdom trailed 38-33 at halftime.
They are still a deserving No. 1, and if nothing else, Arkansas taught them a 17-point lead isn’t safe.
Justin Jackson, the Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year and a possible lottery pick in the National Basketball Association draft, scored 24 points.
Theo Pinson was missed in the first game, and he is the type of guy that does a lot of things that do not show up in the stats.
With 6:49 remaining in the first half Friday, Butler was on pace to score 73 points.
On the first, Fox tried to take a charge against White and was called for blocking. “He (Calipari) got them and I didn’t”. Missing from that assumption is the absence of Kenny Williams, who was UNC’s top perimeter defender this season. That’s the only difference – they got them and we didn’t.
The first half was all about frustration for Kentucky and its fans. United Kingdom had a 1-3 record when trailing at intermission, which sharply contrasted with a 29-2 record when ahead. North Carolina has been quite impressive in this postseason, beating Texas Southern by 39, Arkansas by a relatively small seven, and Butler by 12 (and it wasn’t even that close). He did so on 13-20 shooting and 13-15 from the free throw line. Many of the Tar Heels are friends with the Villanova sharpshooter, who comes to Chapel Hill, N.C., in the summer to play pick-up with them.
A freshman mistake bolstered UK’s return to comeback mode. Kentucky 103, North Carolina 100. “It was like “oh, my gosh” and I remember watching them play and I’m thinking, please don’t put them in our bracket, and there they are in our bracket”.