No. 1 Wildcats survive
Davis’s late block thwarts Tar Heels
Freshman Anthony Davis soared to block John Henson’s shot in the final seconds and top-ranked Kentucky held on to beat No. 5 North Carolina, 73-72, yesterday to extend the Wildcats’ home winning streak to 39 games.
“I just jumped as high as I could with my arm up,’’ said Davis, who had 7 points and nine rebounds. “I thought I probably would [block it]. I have long hands.’’
Freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist scored 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for Kentucky (8-0) and Doron Lamb added 12 of his 14 points after halftime in the heavily-hyped matchup.
“I didn’t realize, because I hadn’t been watching much TV, that this game was being played up like the end alls of end alls,’’ Kentucky coach John Calipari said.
Davis sure ended it, all right.
Reggie Bullock hit a 3-pointer for North Carolina (6-2) to cut the Wildcats’ lead to 73-72 with 48 seconds left. After freshman Marquis Teague missed the front end of a one-and-one, Davis blocked Henson’s shot, grabbed the rebound, and the Wildcats ran out the clock.
“If he doesn’t block the shot, we lose,’’ Calipari said. “Both teams gutted it out, just gutted it out. This is supposed to be March, not now. I’m exhausted.’’
Tyler Zeller and Harrison Barnes scored 14 points apiece for the Tar Heels, who led by as many as 9 in the first half and held a 6-point lead in the second before Kentucky rallied.
The Wildcats haven’t lost at Rupp Arena since Calipari took over, a span of 38 games that includes winning their final one at home under Billy Gillispie.
Lamb converted a 3-point play as part of a 7-0 run that gave Kentucky a 63-60 advantage. After Zeller hit a jumper to cut it to 1, Lamb hit a pair of threes, the second from the corner to give the Wildcats a 69-64 lead with 3:47 left.
“He had a couple of layups, a couple of threes and they were big shots, they were big shots. That one in the corner was a huge shot and he knocked it down,’’ Calipari said. “I’ve got good players. We’re young, we’re inexperienced, but I have really good players.’’
A 3-pointer by Barnes, North Carolina’s 11th of the game, made it 69-67. Darius Miller’s basket made it 71-67. Henson hit two free throws and Kidd-Gilchrist answered with two more before Bullock’s trey set up the final sequence.
After Teague missed the front end of the one-and-one following a foul by Kendall Marshall with 21 seconds left, the Tar Heels had one more chance.
Marshall found Zeller and as Terrence Jones came to double team, he found Henson. Henson went up for the winner, but Davis used his 6-foot-10-inch frame and massive wingspan to block the ball.
“He came from the other side of the lane, it was a great play by him,’’ Henson said.
Jones finished with 14 points and Miller had 12 for the Wildcats. North Carolina’s P.J. Hairston scored 11 and Henson finished with 10.
It’s the first time the schools have met this highly ranked since Dec. 26, 1981 in East Rutherford, N.J., when Michael Jordan, James Worthy, and Sam Perkins combined for 66 points in North Carolina’s 82-69 victory.
Ohio State 64, Texas-Pan American 35 - Evan Ravenel scored a career-high 11 points in place of Jared Sullinger (back spasms) and the No. 2 Buckeyes (8-0) routed the visiting Broncos (2-7) to get coach Thad Matta his 300th career win.
Ravenel, a transfer from Boston College, also tied a career high with seven rebounds. He entered the game averaging 4.6 points and 1.9 rebounds in 11.6 minutes.
“I know I’m not Jared Sullinger,’’ Ravenel said. “Me and Jared are two different players.’’
Matta improved to 300-88 over 12 seasons, the last eight at Ohio State where he is 198-57.
Marquette 61, Wisconsin 54 - Darius Johnson-Odom scored 17 points and the No. 16 Golden Eagles (7-0) knocked off the ninth-ranked Badgers (6-2) in a battle of in-state rivals, snapping Wisconsin’s 23-game home winning streak.
Todd Mayo added 14 points for Marquette. Mayo had a critical late layup and an emphatic, game-clinching dunk.
Jordan Taylor scored 13 points for the Badgers.
The Golden Eagles were without starting point guard Junior Cadougan, who was suspended one game for a violation of team rules.
Xavier 66, Purdue 63 - Tu Holloway scored 21 points, including three consecutive 3-pointers in the last two minutes, and the 11th-ranked Musketeers (6-0) roared back from a 19-point second-half deficit to frustrate the Boilermakers (7-2) in Cincinnati.
Holloway scored 17 points in the second half, 13 after Purdue took a 55-36 lead on Ryne Smith’s 3-pointer with 10:44 left. He personally capped the Musketeers’ comeback with 6 straight points to give Xavier a 61-60 lead with 1:06 left. It was Xavier’s first lead since 2-0.
Michigan 76, Iowa St. 66 - Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 19 points to help the No. 14 Wolverines (6-2) beat the Cyclones (5-3) in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Kansas 70, South Florida 42 - Tyshawn Taylor had 24 points to send the No. 15 Jayhawks (5-2) past the visiting Bulls (5-4).
Pittsburgh 61, Tennessee 56 - John Johnson converted a 3-point play with two seconds left to help lift the No. 17 Panthers (7-1) over the Vols (3-4) in the Big East/SEC Challenge in Knoxville, Tenn.
Illinois 82, Gonzaga 75 - Meyers Leonard scored 21 points and helped the Illini (8-0) hold Robert Sacre to 2 second-half points in upsetting the 19th-ranked Bulldogs (5-1) in Champaign, Ill.
Mississippi St. 75, West Virginia 62 - Arnett Moultrie had 21 points and 13 rebounds and the No. 21 Bulldogs (8-1) pulled away from the visiting Mountaineers (4-2).
Memphis 91, Austin Peay 60 - Guard Will Barton came off the bench to score 22 points, grab 13 boards, and dish out 6 assists as the No. 22 Tigers (4-2) coasted.
Saint Louis 73, Portland 53 - Brian Conklin scored an efficient 19 points, boosting the 23d-ranked Billikens (7-1) over the Pilots (3-5) in their first home game as a ranked team since 1994.
Texas A&M 55, Stephen F. Austin 42 - Elston Turner scored 17 points to lead the No. 25 Aggies past the visiting Lumberjacks (3-3).