Tar Heels tame Wildcats
Chapel Hill, NC (Sports Network) – Rashad McCants scored a game-high 28 points
to lead No. 9 North Carolina over eighth-ranked Kentucky, 91-78, as the
nation’s two winningest programs battled at Dean Smith Center.
Jawad Williams added 19 points for the Tar Heels (6-1), who won their sixth
straight game since dropping the season-opener against Santa Clara.
Kelenna Azubuike netted 24 points for the Wildcats (4-1), who suffered their
first loss of the season after posting four straight lopsided wins.
The Tar Heels opened the game on an 11-2 sprint and they cruised to the
victory. Jackie Manuel capped off the run on a free throw with 17:25 left in
North Carolina led by double digits the rest of the first half and took a
47-32 advantage into the intermission. It was the first time all season that
the Wildcats trailed at the midway point.
The Wildcats came out strong in the second half, starting the frame with nine
unanswered points to cut the deficit to 47-41. Randolph Morris tallied four of
the points in the burst, including two free throws to complete it just under
two minutes in.
About six minutes in, Kentucky pulled within six again at 57-51, however,
could get no closer the rest of the way.
North Carolina used a 14-3 run to jump out to a 71-54 lead. McCants capped off
the burst on a three-pointer with 9:16 remaining.
But once again, the Wildcats did not go away quietly as they cut the edge to
seven. Bobby Perry capped off a 9-2 run on a three-pointer with 4:17 left to
make it a 79-72 contest, but Kentucky could get no closer.
This series dates back to the 1924 season, with North Carolina holding a 17-10
advantage. The two teams own a combined 3,713 victories, 81 NCAA Tournament
appearances and 10 national championships.