Saturday's Top 25 basketball: No. 22 Tar Heels top Kentucky as Wildcats drop 5th straight

Brian Dulik
Associated Press
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Cleveland — Kentucky coach John Calipari is used to early season learning curves for young players. Never in his 12 seasons have the Wildcats fallen behind like this.

Armando Bacot scored 11 of his team-high 14 points in the second half Saturday, rallying No. 22 North Carolina from a double-digit deficit to beat Kentucky 75-63 at the CBS Sports Classic.

North Carolina's Caleb Love, left, drives to the basket against Kentucky's Devin Askew in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Kentucky (1-5) has lost five in a row for the first time since John Calipari became coach in 2009 and is off to its worst start since the 1926-1927 season.

“I’m just so disappointed, especially the last 10 minutes of the game,” Calipari said. “I know they’re better than this. Is it just trying to make tough plays? I’ve got to watch this tape and figure it out.”

Kerwin Walton scored 13 points and fellow freshman guard Caleb Love had 11 points and six assists for North Carolina (5-2), which outscored the Wildcats 33-15 to end the game.

Davion Mintz scored 17 points – making all three of Kentucky’s 3-pointers – and grabbed eight rebounds. No Wildcats who appeared in the game were made available to the media.

Walton made two 3-pointers and scored eight points in a 9-1 game-changing run by the Tar Heels, including the go-ahead free throw at 50-49 with 11:42 remaining. North Carolina had trailed by 11 in the first half.

“I knew my time was coming, once I adjusted to the speed of the college game,” said Walton, who had six points in the first six games. “Every shot I took felt great today.”

Walton made a pair of 3-pointers immediately after Kentucky big men Olivier Sarr and Lance Ware went to the bench with their fourth fouls. Sarr, Ware and teammates Isaiah Jackson and Terrence Clarke later fouled out.

“The first half, I was very disappointed because we didn’t play tough,” Tar Heels coach Roy Williams said. “But I’m as pleased as I could possibly be with the fight we showed when we came back out.”

Wildcats forward Brandon Boston Jr. scored 15 points and guard Devin Askew had 12. A third freshman, forward Cam’Ron Fletcher, walked off the bench and openly complained after only playing three minutes.

Calipari said Fletcher apologized in the locker room, adding, “You’ve got to accept your position on this team.”

More Top 25

►No. 2 Baylor 100, (at) Kansas State 69: Macio Teague had 23 points and 10 rebounds, Davion Mitchell scored 20 points and No. 2 Baylor beat Kansas State.

Jared Butler had 14 points and 13 assists for his first career double-double with the Bears (5-0, 1-0 Big 12), and Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua scored 13 points.

Antonio Gordon led the Wildcats (3-5, 1-1) with 23 points on 9-of-9 shooting, and Selton Miguel scored 14 points.

This was the first game for Baylor in a week after the school paused team activity due to COVID-19 protocols.

(At) No. 7 Villanova 88, Saint Joseph's 68: Jeremiah Robinson-Earl scored 25 points with a broken nose, Caleb Daniels had 19 points and Villanova beat Saint Joseph’s in a hastily-scheduled game.

Robinson-Earl played with a protective mask after breaking his nose in Wednesday’s win against Butler. He helped the Wildcats (7-1) turn this one into a rout in the second half with 8-of-14 shooting overall, and he made seven of Villanova’s 11 free throws, added seven rebounds and never seemed bothered by his injury.

The winless Hawks (0-4) made it a game for a while and trailed by eight at halftime, the latest to force somewhat of a competitive score against Villanova until the Wildcats pulled away.

Central Florida 86, (at) No. 15 Florida State 74: Brandon Mahan scored 26 of his career-high 32 points in the second half and Isaiah Adams added 22 points as UCF ended Florida State’s 27-game home winning streak.

Mahan shot 10 of 13 from the floor and 10 of 10 from the line as UCF (2-1) won for the first time in 12 games against the Seminoles.

Darin Green Jr. scored 20 points for the Knights, who opened the second half by making 6 of 7 3-pointers to pull away. UCF shot 27 of 54 (50%) from the floor and 9 of 19 (47.4%) from 3-point range.

M.J. Walker scored 22 points, two shy of a career high as the Seminoles (4-1) saw their streak of 41 straight home nonconference wins snapped.

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