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Off the cuff: Quick fact: The last minute and 15 seconds took nearly 18 minutes to play.

There were a lot of key moments in the UNC victory over Kentucky.

There was the McAdoo to Tokoto fast break bucket in the first half. There was a Tokoto steal and dunk in the first half.

There was a Paige steal where he went the length of the court in the second half. There was the play where Brice Johnson came up with a loose ball and started the fast break to Paige, who alley-ooped it back to Johnson for the dunk.

But one moment was sort of forgotten but it might have been at least as big a moment as those above. That's when referee Roger Ayers called a technical foul on Kentucky coach John Calipari with just two seconds left in the half.

The Wildcats, who had trailed by five just a couple of minutes earlier, came back to tie it at 30-all. But McAdoo drew a foul on Willie Cauley-Stein right at the end of the half. Calipari vehemently disagreed with the call and picked up the technical.

Paige got his only points of the first half with two technical free throws and then McAdoo hit one of two free throws and the Tar Heels went into the lockerroom at halftime with a 33-30 lead.

Kentucky managed to take a 46-44 six minutes into the second half but after Nate Britt scored on a layup and Paige stole the ball and scored on a layup, the Tar Heels never trailed again.

It remained close through the rest of the game as Carolina left open the door a bit by not hitting free throws. Fortunately the Heels were able to get the ball in Paige's hands and he hit six free throws in the last 38 seconds.

Tar Heels 82, Kentucky 77
Giant killer Heels do it again

The North Carolina Tar Heels may be shorthanded, inexperienced and inconsistent but they have proven to be perhaps the nation's top giant killer this year with wins over Louisville, Michigan State and now Kentucky. (12/14)

The Wildcats came into Chapel Hill as the No. 11 team in the country but No. 18 UNC pulled out an 82-77 victory.

It took a strong second half by Marcus Paige, who went 0-for-5 in the first half, to hold off Kentucky, which was fouling down the stretch to stay in the game.

Paige, with 13:25 left, came up with a steal and layup to give Carolina a 48-46 lead. A 10-2 UNC run put the Tar Heels in good shape at 54-48 with 11:47 to play.

But a fourth foul on JP Tokoto, who along with James Michael McAdoo had led the Heels to a 33-30 halftime lead, put things in doubt.

A Paige three and a short baseline floater kept the Wildcats at bay, with the lead getting as high as eight. Paige sank eight straight free throws in the last three minutes to wrap it up, despite some free throw misses by other Tar Heels.

"That's the most intense the Dean Smith Center has been since I've been here," said Paige, who finished with 23 points, 21 of which were scored in the second half.

The Tar Heels shot an impressive 57 percent from the floor in the second half but an unimpressive 57 percent from the free throw line for the game.

"We made enough but not a bunch," UNC coach Roy Williams said of the free throws. But Williams was happy with the team's overall effort and with the win.

"I had a fun time in that lockerroom with my kids," he said with a smile.

He had to be especially happy for James Michael McAdoo, who has struggled this season. McAdoo, playing much more aggressively, got to the line for 19 shots and made 12 of them. He was four of six from the field to finish with 20 points. He also had five rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block.

Tokoto, who had 11 at the half, finished with 15 despite the foul trouble.

The Tar Heels, now 7-2, host Texas Wednesday.


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