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Off the cuff: North Carolina has a 23-14 all-time record against Kentucky but it might not have mattered how well the Tar Heels played in this one.

No. 1 Kentucky was hot and played physical and aggressively on the defensive end. Some believe the Wildcats will go undefeated this season - at least in the regular season.

Carolina took a lot of hits in this one - figuratively and literally - but kept coming back.

Marcus Paige hit four threes in the second half to help. The Tar Heels actually outrebounded the Wildcats and had an impressive 18 offensive rebounds.

But Kentucky scored 24 points off Carolina's 19 turnovers and scored 13 more points from the foul line.

UNC coach Roy Williams shouldn't be happy with a loss however, in light of how hard the Tar Heels played, I was surprised he was angry enough to cuss. We usually just hear the "dad gums" and such.

When asked to remember something he had said before the game about keys to the game, he said, "I'm too ticked off to think about any bullsh*t like that."

Maybe he was just joking around.

Kentucky 84, Tar Heels 70
No. 1 Wildcats run by Tar Heels

No. 1 Kentucky played its best game of the year and ran by a scrappy but error-prone North Carolina team 84-70 in Lexington. (12/13)

The Wildcats, who led by as many as 19 points, shot a season-high 56 percent from the floor and took advantage of 19 Tar Heel turnovers.

Carolina shot 45 percent and outrebounded Kentucky by seven but it wasn't enough.

"Their defense was far more superior to our offense," UNC coach Roy Williams said. He said the two big keys to the key were the number of Carolina turnovers and the fact that Carolina couldn't manage to play aggressively without fouling.

The Wildcats, now 11-0, went to the foul line 31 times, hitting 23 free throws.

Also, Kentucky had been averaging just four three point baskets per game but got three in the first five minutes to race out to a 19-8 lead.

A JP Tokoto three cut the margin to just three at 22-19 but the Wildcats worked the lead up to 15 at the half when they hit three more three pointers in the last three minutes of the first half to go up 49-34.

An 11-2 run by Carolina midway through the second half cut the deficit to nine at 66-57.

But Kentucky went on a 10-2 run of its own to push the lead back up to 18 at 80-62 and the Tar Heels never threatened again.

Brice Johnson, who had 12 at the half, led the Tar Heels in scoring with 15 points while Marcus Paige, who scored 12 in the second half on four threes, finished with 14 points. Kennedy Meeks was the only other Tar Heel in double figures with 10 points.

UNC, now 6-3, play at UNC-Greensboro Tuesday at 7 p.m.


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