clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

NCAA Bracket Update: Kentucky Takes Out North Carolina In Battle Of College Basketball Titans

Final Score: Kentucky 76, North Carolina 69

Newark, NJ (Sports Network) - Brandon Knight scored 22 points and pulled down seven rebounds, leading Kentucky back into the Final Four with a 76-69 victory over North Carolina.

DeAndre Liggins ended with 12 points, including a crucial three-pointer in the final minute that helped the fourth-seeded Wildcats (29-8) win the East Region.

Kentucky reached the Final Four for the first time since 1998, when it won the national title. It will face Connecticut in a national semifinal on April 2.

Tyler Zeller had 21 points and nine boards for the second-seeded Tar Heels (29-8), who were trying to reach the Final Four two years after winning the national title.

Kentucky led for most of the game and was up by double digits at times during the second half.

But North Carolina erased its deficit entirely with a late 10-2 run. Harrison Barnes scored the Tar Heels' first eight points of the run, which Zeller closed with two free throws with 3:18 to go, making it a 67-67 game.

However, Knight countered with a three at the other end to put Kentucky back in front.

After a series of misses, which included a few UNC layup attempts, Zeller got a tip-in to fall. The Tar Heels got an opportunity to move in front after Knight missed a free throw, but Liggins blocked Kendall Marshall's jumper with a minute remaining.

Liggins then delivered at the offensive end, drilling a three from the right corner with 35 seconds to play. Replays later showed his right foot to be very close to the arc, but one angle showed space between the front of his shoe and the line.

The shot made it a 73-69 contest, and after Darius Miller got a piece of Barnes' missed three-point try, Knight sealed the win with free throws.

Barnes finished with 18 points in the loss.

Kentucky gained control in a close first half with an eight-point burst that lasted more than four minutes. Doron Lamb's three ended the run, giving the Wildcats a 21-13 advantage just past the midway point.

Kentucky stayed in front and carried a 38-30 lead into the break.

Game Notes

The Wildcats got their first NCAA tourney win against the Tar Heels. UNC won regional finals against UK in 1995 and 1977...Kentucky reached the Final Four for the 14th time...Josh Harrellson posted 12 points and eight rebounds for Kentucky, while Miller and Terrence Jones had 11 points apiece...Dexter Strickland totaled 11 points for UNC.

Images by eflon used in background images under a Creative Commons license. Thank you.