Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Carolina Puts the Beatdown on Kentucky; Curry, Griffin Duel; No Garden Party for St. John’s
In the marquee game of the night, North Carolina put the beatdown on Kentucky, 77-58, in front of a capacity crowd at the Dean Dome that included Ashley Judd.
Judd, a huge Kentucky fan, had promised the Carolina students that if Barack Obama carried the state, she would appear at the game. A Democrat carried North Carolina for the first time since 1976.
No. 1 Carolina rolled despite the absence of consensus National Player of the Year Tyler Hansbrough, out with a stress reaction condition in his shin.
“He is dying to play,” Carolina coach Roy Williams told ESPN. “And I had to sit him down and say, ‘Now when I ask you I have got to get the truth. Don’t tell me what you want to do. Tell me the truth.”
The Tar Heels raced out to a 15-2 lead and led 23-6.
Kentucky made 17 TOs in the first half.
Deon Thompson guarded Patrick Patterson and still came up with 20 and 9 and Wayne Ellington added 16 points as Carolina improved to 2-0. Kentucky is now 0-2.
The bad news for Carolina was that 7-footer Tyler Zeller was hit hard on a fast break and suffered a wrist injury.
**With Hansbrough on the IR, it opens the way for Blake Griffin of Oklahoma or Steph Curry of Davidson to possibly win National PLayer of the Year honors. Those two put on quite a show in No. 12 Oklahoma’s 82-78 win over No. 21 Davidson Tuesday night in Norman, Okla.
Curry went for a career-high 44 points on 12-of-29 shooting, including 6-of-15 from 3, while Griffin tallied 25 points and 21 rebounds.
Both guys are on track for first-team All-America honors and bright futures in the NBA.
“I’m really proud of our guys for digging in and finding a way,” Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel said. “People got to witness two great performances, two special performances by two special players, what Blake and what Stephen did.”
**In Chestnut Hill, Mass., St. John’s lost to Boston College, 82-70, in the first round of the Dick’s Sporting Goods NIT at BC. Boston College (3-0) advanced to play No. 11 Purdue next Thursday at Madison Square Garden.
Oklahoma meets Davidson and Arizona faces UAB for the other two semifinal spots.
Senior guard Tyrese Rice led the charged for BC with 28 points, Joe Trapani tallied 19 points and Rakim Sanders added 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Sean Evans and Paris Horne tallied 14 apiece for the Johnnies (1-1). Anthony Mason JR. added 12 on 3-of-13 shooting and Malik Boothe had 10.
BC was playing its third game against a Big East opponent since leaving the conference. The other two were against Providence.
For Purdue, E’Twaun Moore scored 14 points in a 78-46 win over Loyola of Chicago. Robbie Hummel added 13 points and Marcus Green had 12 and 10.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.