No. 18 North Carolina beats No. 11 Kentucky 82-77

Short-handed again in a tight – and often ugly – contest, Marcus Paige and North Carolina proved they’re tough enough to fight their way to another marquee nonconference victory.

As for Kentucky, coach John Calipari is still waiting for his Wildcats to grow up.

Paige scored 21 of his 23 points in the second half and James Michael McAdoo had 20 points, helping the 18th-ranked Tar Heels beat the 11th-ranked Wildcats 82-77 on Saturday.

It wasn’t always pretty for the Tar Heels (7-2), from 19 missed free throws to seeing the Wildcats swat seven of their shots. Yet they managed to add another big name to their early wins against then-No. 1 Michigan State and then-No. 3 Louisville – all coming while top scorer P.J. Hairston and Leslie McDonald sit out due to NCAA eligibility concerns.

”I think especially after getting the two big games earlier in the year, we had more confidence and belief we could get this one done,” Paige said. ”But at the same time, it’s not a game everyone in the room would pick us to win. We had to come out with the mentality that we’ve got to play hard and be the aggressor and let the chips fall from there.’

Yes, the Tar Heels have confounded Hall of Fame coach Roy Williams by also losing at home to Belmont and following the Louisville win with a loss at UAB. But one thing is certain: This bunch shows up in its biggest games.

J.P. Tokoto added 15 points for the Tar Heels, who shot 57 percent after halftime and scored 20 points off turnovers to finally wrestle control of a foul-filled game away from the Wildcats (8-3).

”I feel like with our team this year, mentally we’re there and have built up that mentality that we’re going to keep fighting, go to the next play and not worry about the last play,” Tokoto said.

When it comes to the Wildcats, Calipari wants to see more from a team built around the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class.

The Wildcats dominated the boards, scored 19 second-chance points and hit 29 of 43 free throws in a game with 56 personal fouls. But with star rookie Julius Randle struggling, Kentucky shot 41 percent and committed 17 turnovers while trailing for most of the second half in its first true road game this year

Written by Nick

Nick

Nick the Quick White is an avid fan of basketball and hip hop, and a contributing writer with WJS since 2013. Nick has interviewed rappers, ballers, rapper ballers, and baller rappers on the site and continues to preach that the NBA should have a team in Europe. Maybe because Nick currently lives outside London where to them Football is actually played with your feet, can you believe this fatuousness?

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