Cats play 1st half to near perfection

"We were having fun. Everyone was contributing. We kept our intensity up. We were running and stopping them from running. That stretch was pretty much the best basketball you can play and to do it against North Carolina, one of the best schools in the nation with one of the best coaches, that was really great for us."

For about eight minutes, Kentucky played almost perfect basketball.

The Wildcats turned a 9-2 deficit into a 30-11 lead against North Carolina here Saturday thanks to the speed of freshman point guard John Wall, solid play from Patrick Patterson and explosive scoring from Darius Miller.

That was the decisive run, too, in UK's 68-66 victory over No. 10 North Carolina.

"That run was big. They had a great team, and they made plays on defense, but we just kept making open shots. We made a lot of big plays, and were able to make a big run like that," said Wall, who had two dunks to start the run and seven points and four assists during the streak." Patterson, who had 19 points and seven rebounds, couldn't remember a better run during his Kentucky career. He hit a runner and slammed a lob pass from Wall into the basket during the streak.

"It was all keyed by our defense," Patterson said. "We helped each other on the perimeter and didn't let them make any cuts. Our defense was everywhere. That's the best we've played this year and the best a team has played since I have been here.

"We were having fun. Everyone was contributing. We kept our intensity up. We were running and stopping them from running. That stretch was pretty much the best basketball you can play and to do it against North Carolina, one of the best schools in the nation with one of the best coaches, that was really great for us."

North Carolina coach Roy Williams didn't make excuses for his team. "You have to congratulate them. The first half they really kicked our tails," he said. "They ran us out of the gym. I don't know if I've ever coached a team where at halftime they had 12 fast break points and we had zero. That was a big emphasis for us. "We are not as bad as we looked in the first half. I really don't believe we are that bad, but Kentucky made us look that bad," Williams said.


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