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Kentucky 68, UNC 66

Forget the 28-2 run.

I know, it's hard. After all, it took most of the first half and changed what had been a good UNC start into a disastrous hole the Tar Heels spent the entire game climbing out of. But climb out Carolina did, cutting the lead multiple times to three. As horrible as UNC's first half was, Kentucky's second was equally bad, with John Wall either in the locker room or hobbling around the court . UNC had plenty of chances to win this game, but they all seemed to bounce away along the Kentucky baseline.

That's where the Heels truly let the game slip away. The second half gave them the game the wanted to play, with numerous Wildcat turnovers and UNC defensive rebounds. And yet the resulting fast breaks more often than not resulted in nothing. Too many passes bouncing off hands, too many blocks giving the ball back to Kentucky. If UNC converts those points, they win the game. As it stands, they have a long, snowy trip back to Chapel Hill.

So what did the Heels do well? The bounced back from a horrible first half, holding Kentucky to nine offensive rebounds and even curtailing the turnovers in the second half. They shut down DeMarcus Cousins, keeping him in foul trouble most of the game and limiting him to fifteen ineffective minutes. In fact, the player they never had an answer for was the one starting upperclassman, Patrick Patterson, who was 8-12 for 19 points and 7 rebounds. But they couldn't overcome poor shooting and their inability to capitalize on turnovers, and still haven't shaken the propensity to panic that turns small changes in fortune into 28-2 runs. John Wall's first half was, of course, incredible, but he flusters as easy as the UNC players, and his seven turnovers did a good deal towards letting Carolina back in the game.

I'm trying to find the bright side when I say a close loss and a solid comeback, even if it comes up short, will be good for this team down the road. They'll come through December strong and well prepared for the conference season. But it's still a tough loss on an hostile floor, and annoying to see.