UNC Basketball falls short against Kentucky in CBS Sports Classic

The UNC basketball program battled but it wasn't enough, as Kentucky got the upper edge in the latest matchup between the two Blue Blood programs.

CBS Sports Classic: Kentucky v North Carolina
CBS Sports Classic: Kentucky v North Carolina / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

The UNC basketball fought to the finish but it wasn't enough, as they suffered a loss to Kentucky in another nail-biter between two of the most historic programs in college basketball.

528. Final. 83. 441. UNC UK. 87

The game was what you'd expect it to be between the two sides: chippy. A lot of physical play and competitiveness, but in the end, it was the Wildcats who head home with the victory.

North Carolina struggled early, as turnovers haunted the Tar Heels essentially up until the final buzzer. With a long break between games due to finals week, you could've expected North Carolina to be a little flat early on, but they were very fortunate to only be down two points at the half.

As we've seen before this season, the UNC basketball program fought, as they essentially erased multiple double-digit deficits to eventually take the lead for a short time with 5:16 left to play. That lead didn't last long (16 second in total), as that would be the last time the Tar Heels would have control in this one.

You can point to a few miscues and missed opportunities, especially in regard to protecting the basketball. Two of the biggest plays that proved costly occurred in the final minutes, as the Tar Heels were the ones who made the mistakes on both.

After Aaron Bradshaw missed a free throw, Cormac Ryan and Jae'Lyn Withers battled each other for the rebound, one that neither one was able to haul in.

With a chance to tie the game with 11.9 seconds remaining, Elliot Cadeau, who was not in since the 9:06 mark of the second half due to foul trouble/struggles, passed the ball off Ryan's back that resulted in the Tar Heels' 17th turnover as well as the final dagger.

Did the Tar Heels play their best basketball? Not by any means. However, there are still quite a few positive takeaways you can find from this one.

For starters, Ryan had his best offensive performance of his young Tar Heels career, scoring 20 points while knocking down eight of his 12 shot attempts.

RJ Davis continues to play at an elite level, as he scored a game-high 27 points. He made eight of 9 free throws (bringing him to 41 consecutive makes, which tied Jeff Lebo's program record), but missed his final attempt which would've given him the record.

Although they could've easily allowed the Wildcats to pull away with this one (especially in an atmosphere where Kentucky fans outnumbered North Carolina fans), give credit to this group for sticking in this game throughout.

Unfortunately, it was the self-inflicted wounds that came back to haunt them.

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