Wildcats rise just above Carolina
Posted: Monday, December 5, 2011 7:01 pm
By COLIN FLY
AP Sports Writer
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Pushed and pressured all day, Anthony Davis finally went somewhere else no one could on the floor. Up.
The freshman soared to block John Henson’s shot in the final seconds and No. 1 Kentucky held on to beat No. 5 North Carolina 73-72 on Saturday to extend the Wildcats’ home winning streak to 39 games.
“I just jumped as high as I could with my arm up,” said Davis, who had seven points and nine rebounds. “I thought I probably would (block it). I have long hands.”
Freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist scored 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for Kentucky (8-0) and Doron Lamb added 12 of his 14 points after halftime in the heavily hyped matchup.
“I didn’t realize, because I hadn’t been watching much TV, that this game was being played up like the end alls of end alls,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said.
Davis sure ended it, all right.
Reggie Bullock hit a 3-pointer for North Carolina (6-2) to cut the Wildcats’ lead to 73-72 with 48 seconds left. After freshman Marquis Teague missed the front end of a one-and-one, Davis blocked Henson’s shot, grabbed the rebound and the Wildcats ran out the clock.
“If he doesn’t block the shot, we lose,” Calipari said. “Both teams gutted it out, just gutted it out. This is supposed to be March, not now. I’m exhausted.”
Tyler Zeller and Harrison Barnes scored 14 points apiece for the Tar Heels, who led by as many as nine in the first half and held a six-point lead in the second before Kentucky rallied.
The Wildcats haven’t lost at Rupp Arena since Calipari took over, a span of 38 games that includes winning their final one at home under Billy Gillispie.
Lamb converted a three-point play as part of a 7-0 run that gave Kentucky a 63-60 lead. After Zeller hit a jumper to cut it to one, Lamb hit a pair of 3s, the second in the corner that gave the Wildcats a 69-64 lead with 3:47 left.
“He had a couple of layups, a couple of threes and they were big shots. That one in the corner was a huge shot and he knocked it down,” Calipari said. “I’ve got good players. We’re young, we’re inexperienced, but I have really good players.”
After a 3-pointer by Barnes, North Carolina’s 11th of the game, made it 69-67, Darius Miller’s basket made it 71-67.
Published in The Messenger 12.5.11