Heels take ugly path past Kentucky

North Carolina guard Marcus Paige takes a loose ball from Kentucky forward Willie Cauley-Stein. No.  18 North Carolina wins a meeting between two of the four programs that have won at least five NCAA national titles — 11th-ranked Kentucky is second with eight titles; UNC is tied for third with five.

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North Carolina guard Marcus Paige takes a loose ball from Kentucky forward Willie Cauley-Stein. No.  18 North Carolina wins a meeting between two of the four programs that have won at least five NCAA national titles — 11th-ranked Kentucky is second with eight titles; UNC is tied for third with five.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Shorthanded 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 had 21 of his 23 points in the second half and James Michael McAdoo had 20 points Saturday, helping the 18th-ranked Tar Heels beat the No. 11 Wildcats 82-77.

The Tar Heels (7-2) missed 19 free throws and had seven shots blocked — downsides for a team that has confounded Hall of Fame coach Roy Williams by losing at home to Belmont, winning at then-No. 1 Michigan State, and following a win over Louisville with a loss at UAB.

UNC is without top scorer P.J. Hairston and Leslie McDonald because of eligibility concerns.

J.P. Tokoto scored 15 for the Tar Heels, who shot 57 percent after halftime and scored 20 points off turnovers to 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.

Kentucky had 19 second-chance points and hit 29 of 43 free throws but had 17 turnovers.

"What we are right now is we're not a good basketball team," Calipari said. "And we're not a good team because our emotion is all based on our individual play instead of our team play. … Our stuff is all based on 'Did I miss a free throw? Did I get beat on the dribble? Did I miss a shot? Did I turn it over?' … We've got a long way to go."

No. 1 Arizona 72, Michigan 70: Nick Johnson hit six free throws in the final 25 seconds for the visiting Wildcats (11-0), who erased an 11-point deficit in the second half. The Wolverines led by one when Johnson drew a foul with 24.6 seconds left. He made both free throws, and Michigan's Nik Stauskas missed.

No. 3 Ohio St. 79, N. Dak. St. 62: LaQuinton Ross and Lenzelle Smith scored 18 each and freshman Mark Loving had a career-high 12 points for the host Buckeyes (10-0).

No. 4 Wisconsin 86, E. Ky. 61: Ben Brust scored 20 to lead four players in double figures as the host Badgers (12-0) reached their best start since 1915-16, when they also were 12-0.

No. 5 Mich. St. 67, Oakland (Mich.) 63: Branden Dawson had 16 points and 13 rebounds for the visiting Spartans (8-1), who were without leading scorer Gary Harris (ankle).

No. 6 Louisville 79, W. Ky. 63: Russ Smith had 14 points and 10 assists and the host Cardinals (9-1) shot 69 percent in the second half to top their state rival for the fifth straight time. Louisville's bench outscored WKU's 33-20.

No. 7 Okla. St. 70, La. Tech 55: Le'Bryan Nash had 22 points and 10 rebounds as the Cowboys (9-1) overcame a sluggish start in Oklahoma City. Marcus Smart scored three in the first half and finished with 13 for Oklahoma State, which had not played in more than a week.

No. 12 Wichita St. 70, Tenn. 61: Tekele Cotton had all 19 of his points in the second half and Darius Carter had 11 points and 14 rebounds as the host Shockers (10-0) got off to the best start in school history.

No. 13 Kansas 80, N. Mexico 63: Perry Ellis scored 21 and Joel Embiid added a career-high 18 as the Jayhawks (7-3) ended a two-game skid in Kansas City, Mo. Andrew Wiggins, in foul trouble much of the night, scored 11 for Kansas.

No. 15 Oregon 71, Illinois 64: Joseph Young and Mike Moser scored 14 each to lead five players in double figures for the host Ducks (9-0), who ended the game on a 13-5 run.

No. 22 UMass 80, N. Illinois 54: Cady Lalanne scored 16 and Chaz Williams had 12 points and seven assists as the host Minutemen (9-0) continued their best start since 1995-96 (26-0).

Fla. College 65, Webber 59: The visiting Falcons (7-8) used a 36-20 second half to overcome a 10-point halftime deficit.

Walker joins UF

Touted Florida recruit Chris Walker has academically qualified and joined the team. Walker has enrolled and practiced with the Gators for the first time Saturday, UF athletic officials said. The 6-foot-10 forward could play as early as Saturday when the Gators play Fresno State in Sunrise. ESPN rated Walker the nation's No. 12 recruit, and several NBA analysts believe he is a likely first-round draft pick. He is the 15th McDonald's All-American to enroll at UF under Donovan, one of three on the current roster.

Times staff writer Antonya English contributed to this report.

Heels take ugly path past Kentucky 12/14/13 [Last modified: Saturday, December 14, 2013 11:38pm]

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