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North Carolina Holds off UK, 82-77

This article appears courtesy of KY Forward and is written by James Pennington. KY Forward's coverage of UK Athletics is sponsored by Republic Bank.

No. 18 North Carolina hit 13 of its final 20 shots, thwarting a handful of Kentucky comebacks including one last push in the final minute, and the No. 11 Wildcats lost their second game in eight days, an 82-78 Tar Heel win in the Dean Smith Center.

The Wildcats (8-3) weren’t at full strength for much of the first half because of foul trouble; he picked up his second with 7:35 to play, sitting the rest of the first half. Carolina took a 33-30 lead into halftime before the second half opened up. And by opened up, “both teams shot more free throws” is the obvious implication. The Tar Heels were 14-of-24 from the foul line in the second half, and Kentucky was 20-of-26.

(SEE ALSO: Missed free throws are universally evil KY Forward)

Marcus Paige led all scorers with 23 points for North Carolina.

Aaron Harrison led four Kentucky players in double figures; he had 20, including a 3-pointer with 6.1 seconds left to bring Kentucky within three points at 80-77 for one last gasp. But Kentucky didn’t get a steal, and Paige hit two more free throws to seal the final score.

Randle finished with 11 points, five rebounds and four turnovers in 29 minutes.

Photo by James Pennington