(1) North Carolina 86

(7-0, 1-0 away)

Kentucky 77

(4-2, 3-1 home)

    2:00 PM ET, December 1, 2007

    Rupp Arena, Lexington, Kentucky

    1 2 T
    #1UNC 37 4986
    UK 32 4577

    Top Performers

    North Carolina: D. Green 20 Pts, 6 Reb, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Kentucky: P. Patterson 19 Pts, 9 Reb, 2 Ast

    Tar Heels too strong for Wildcats, reach first 7-0 start under Williams

    LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) -- Every time Tyler Hansbrough caught the ball in the post, Kentucky's players swarmed around him, swatting at the ball.

    The North Carolina big man did not retaliate to the bruising. He responded at the free-throw line.

    Hansbrough made 10 of 12 free throws as the Tar Heels (No. 2 ESPN/USA Today, No. 1 AP) capitalized on Kentucky's 25 fouls and beat the Wildcats 86-77 on Saturday, their fourth straight win in the annual matchup between college basketball's winningest programs.

    "I've never coached a player who takes as much physical abuse as he does," North Carolina coach Roy Williams said of his star. "He's a bull in the china shop, and all those pieces of china like to hit back."

    The Tar Heels are off to a 7-0 start for the first time under Williams and the first time since the 1998-99 squad began the season 8-0. Kentucky is now 4-2 under new coach Billy Gillispie.

    With Hansbrough closely guarded, reserve Danny Green lead the Tar Heels with a career-high 20 points.

    "There's tradition and history on both sides, so it's a great rivalry, even though we're not in the same league," Green said.

    The plan to crowd Hansbrough backfired on the Wildcats, who struggled to generate much rhythm against North Carolina's physical and quick attack.

    For the third straight year, Kentucky used a swarm defense to largely limit Hansbrough from the field. Unlike the past two years, in which he scored a combined 13 points, Hansbrough was a force at the line.

    He finished with 14 points and a game-high 11 rebounds, his third double-double of the season.

    Gillispie suggested that Hansbrough wasn't the innocent victim on all those fouls.

    "I think sometimes the offensive player may initiate more contact than the casual fan may think," Gillispie said.

    Patrick Patterson, Kentucky's blue-chip freshman power forward, held his own against North Carolina's tough frontcourt but got little help from his teammates. Top shot-blocker Perry Stevenson picked up his fourth foul with eight minutes left in the first half, and fouled out early in the second.

    "Coach wanted a nasty game instead of a pretty game," Patterson said.

    Gillispie said he was pleased with the effort. He surprisingly even labeled Stevenson's performance the best of the year, despite scoring only two points and playing just 8 minutes.

    Hansbrough said Patterson did provide a challenge.

    "He's a solid big man," Hansbrough said. "He's very physical and he can get you into weird positions because they run so many things to him."

    Up 44-39 early in the second half, the Tar Heels went on a 13-0 run to put the game out of reach. Bobby Frasor finished the streak with two 3-pointers, the last one silencing the Rupp Arena crowd as he pumped his fist.

    "They're going to play 40 minutes," Kentucky guard Michael Porter said of North Carolina. "If we don't play for 10 seconds, 20 seconds, one minute, whatever it is, they're going to keep at us."

    Patterson ended the Kentucky drought by drawing a foul and hitting one of two free throws, but that was Kentucky's first trip to the line. By then, North Carolina had taken 14 free throws, making 13.

    Kentucky's defense helped the Wildcats play with North Carolina early, but every time the Wildcats made a big basket, Green, a junior swingman, seemed to have an answer.

    He scored North Carolina's last 10 points of the first half, eight of them in a span of just over a minute, using 3-pointers to answer a 3 by Joe Crawford and a dunk by A.J. Stewart, then a layup to answer Crawford's layup.

    It was Green's sixth straight game scoring in double digits, all as a reserve. His previous career high was 17 points on Nov. 19, 2005, against Gardner-Webb.

    "I didn't make everything I took, but at one point I was in a rhythm, took some open shots and made some big plays for my team," Green said.

    On Friday, Williams doubted that Ty Lawson, the sophomore point guard who missed the Ohio State game with a sprained ankle, would be available against the Wildcats. He did play, providing his usual spark, including a steal and fastbreak layup that generated energy for the Tar Heels midway through their second half run.

    While Lawson started, Kentucky's regular point guard, Ramel Bradley, was not in the lineup for the tipoff. Bradley entered less than 2 minutes in, but had only two assists. He did score 19 points, as did Patterson. Crawford led the team with 21.

    The Tar Heels led 37-32 at halftime. Patterson scored the first bucket of the second half to cut the deficit to three points, but the Wildcats would get no closer.

    Kentucky leads all Division I programs with 1,952 wins, while North Carolina is second at 1,921. The teams have played 30 times, with North Carolina winning 20 of them.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 86 77
    FG Made-Attempted 26-61 (.426) 26-58 (.448)
    3P Made-Attempted 7-14 (.500) 7-17 (.412)
    FT Made-Attempted 27-34 (.794) 18-22 (.818)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 19 (0/0) 25 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 20 2

    2007-08 Season

    » Dec 1, 2007 UNC 86, @UK 77Recap