For the second time on Sunday, an NCAA Tournament game was decided by the three point shot. And finally, one game went according to plan (you know, according to me).
North Carolina finally succumbed to their biggest foe, as their awful three point shooting did them in. Despite shooting fairly well from the free throw line (12 of 15, compared to 10 of 16 for UK), the Tar Heels had nothing to show from outside, clanging thirteen triples and going 3 for 16 overall, offsetting their excellent two point offense (24 for 46). Harrison Barnes has had an excellent tournament, but he shot 2 for 9 from beyond the arc and finished with 18 points on 19 shots. Kendall Marshall went 1 for 5, and Leslie McDonald missed his two attempts. 98.3 points per 100 possessions indicates it was Kentucky's defense, not UNC's, that dictated the tempo of this game.
Still, it would've been ok if they'd contained Kentucky on the other side of the court from behind the arc. Which they didn't come close to doing. Brandon Knight nailed five of 11 threes, DeAndre Liggins put in two of four, Doron Lamb put in his only two, Darius Miller had two, and Terrance Jones added his own triple. Sometimes basketball is just about making shots, and Kentucky's excellent three point offense totally blasted North Carolina's poor three point offense out of the water in this one.
It negated the advantage UNC enjoyed in the paint with Tyler Zeller (9 for 12 shooting, 21 points, 9 rebounds). John Henson (despite nine boards) was in foul trouble and never was much of a factor like he had been in the first three Tar Heel tournament games. Josh Harrellson continued his solid tournament in the paint, contributing 12 points and 8 rebounds. Jones and Knight backed up their senior big with seven boards apiece.
Kentucky moves on to face UConn in the Final Four.