No. 9 UNC falls to No. 19 Ken­tucky

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - Sports - BY JONATHAN M. ALEXAN­DER jalexan­[email protected]­sob­ Jonathan M. Alexan­der: 919- 829- 4822, @jon­malexan­der

North Carolina had known about Ken­tucky’s Reid Travis prior to Satur­day’s game in the CBS Sports Clas­sic. Be­fore trans­fer­ring to Ken­tucky dur­ing the off­sea­son, he played for Stan­ford and scored 21 points against the Tar Heels in Novem­ber 2017.

“He’s a bull. He’s a work horse,” UNC se­nior guard Kenny Wil­liams said Thurs­day of Travis.

De­spite know­ing what they knew, they still had no an­swer for him Satur­day at the United Cen­ter.

Travis scored 20 points, 16 com­ing dur­ing the first half, and No. 19 Ken­tucky beat No. 9 UNC 80-72.

Grad­u­ate se­nior Cam John­son led the Tar Heels with 17 points, and se­nior for­ward Luke Maye had 16.

The Tar Heels fell, a week af­ter a 103-90 vic­tory over then-No. 4 Gon­zaga at home. The Tar Heels (8-3) had hoped that win would give them mo­men­tum head­ing into its game with the Wild­cats. But there was a no­tice­able dif­fer­ence in the en­ergy from the two games.

In this game, it was the Wild­cats (9-2) show­ing the emo­tion.

At times UNC’s play­ers made un­nec­es­sary turnovers, and Ken­tucky turned them into quick points. The Wild­cats scored 20 points off the Tar Heels’ 17 turnovers.

UNC had a few chances to make the game closer. It got to 66-60 with 6:47 left. Sopho­more for­ward Gar­ri­son Brooks re­bounded a Ken­tucky miss but turned it over, and the Wild­cats made him pay. Sopho­more for­ward P.J. Wash­ing­ton hit a 3-pointer to make it a nine-point game lead.

Down by eight, with 2:24 left, the Tar Heels had a chance to cut into the lead, but John­son missed a 3-point at­tempt. In­stead Ken­tucky’s Kel­don John­son hit a 3-pointer to make it a 10-point gap.

UNC, again cut the lead to six with about 40 sec­onds to play, and Luke Maye had a chance to make it a three-point game. But he missed and the Tar Heels lost for the third time this sea­son.

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