UNC and OSU End Up On Top at the CBS Sports Classic
It was a big day at the Barclay’s Center Saturday afternoon when the CBS Sports Classic took place in the Brooklyn arena. It hosted four of some of the best NCAA Division I basketball teams including No. 4 Kentucky, Ohio State, No. 11 North Carolina, and No.22 UCLA. 16,311 fans from all four teams showed up to see them play.
With the first game of the afternoon, North Carolina vs. UCLA, UCLA had quite the lead in the beginning, with North Carolina having a slow start. UNC gave their all and ended UCLA’s five game winning streak, beating the Bruins 89-76. Senior Brice Johnson contributed a career-high 27 points and nine rebounds for UNC.
“I can definitely do a lot better. I’m still messing up on the defensive end here and there. Those are the shots I shoot in practice every day. If you let me get it down there, that’s what I do. You want to be able to make that shot. I practice it every day. I’ve been practicing for the last four years of my life,” Johnson said, when asked if he could do any better after having a career high in the past two games.
UCLA led the beginning by as much as 11 points, mostly contributed by junior Isaac Hamilton, who made all four of his 3’s in the first half of the game. The Tar Heels trailed by nine with only eight minutes left in the first half. For the remainder of the half, UNC went on a 19-10 run and Johnson led with 13 points, after not scoring in the opening 12 minutes. UCLA had 11 turnovers in the first half, four made by senior Tony Parker. The Bruins fired back and evened up the scored at 38-38 just before the buzzer.
UNC started off the second half on a high note adding eight more points to the score to cut the even score to 46-38. The Bruins fought back and cut the Tar Heels’ lead to three, including Sophomore Thomas Welsh’s tip-in. UNC didn’t like this and scored 13 consecutive points to bring the lead back up to 73-57 with only six minutes to go. UCLA just couldn’t keep up and North Carolina improved to 9-2, while UCLA fell to 8-4 and ruined their Top 25 status.
When asked about the game today, coach Steve Alford of UCLA said, “I’m really proud of our guys. We have had a really good stretch. We’ve shown growth and improvement. I thought we did that again in the first half of this game. We did a nice job in a lot of areas. We just had two glaring weakness today. That was turnovers, which we’ve done a really good job in the past two weeks of limiting turnovers. We had too many turnovers and we just couldn’t get stops in transition. This is a really good basketball team. It’s got a lot of experience, a lot of seniors, depth, big. They’re just really good and really talented. I appreciate how our guys fought. We’ve shown growth in the past two and a half weeks. What this game proves is that there’s still a lot of growth to go.”
In Game 2 of the CBS Sports Classic, unranked Ohio State (6-5) stunned No.4 Kentucky (9-2) which was their first victory as an unranked team against a top-10 team since 2009. Besides a win, the Buckeyes also had four plays score double figures and had one less turnover than Kentucky.
Ohio State started out with a lead and continued after JaQuan Lyle made a three, with the score at 9-7. Lyle also hit a three-pointer right at the buzzer of the half and the Buckeyes took a 37-25 lead. A.J. Harris gave the Buckeyes a 55-39 lead with 11:28 remaining but the Wildcats were able to cut that to 63-60.
“We have to come out and understand that these teams are coming at us with their best shot. They came out today and hit 60-to-70 percent of their shots early on and they hit us in the mouth. We weren’t able to recover until late in the game, and at that point it was too late,” said Jamal Murry, when asked about the slow start.
Skal Labissiere missed a jumper for the Wildcats so Ohio State’s Marc Loving ran for the long rebound but couldn’t get a hold of it. The ball bounced near midcourt and Daniel Giddens of Ohio State grabbed it. Giddens then passed it to Kam Williams who was then fouled blantantly by Tyler Ulis at the basket. Both free throws were made and then Giddens was fouled at the next possession and also made both free throws. These plays put the Buckeyes up 67-60 with only 2:54 left. Giddens shot 28.9 percent from the line. Kentucky had a season low in points and also had 12 turnovers that Ohio State turned in to 16 points. Every player who had some action for the Buckeyes had at least six points. The underdog proved that they could come back on top against a top-10 ranked team.
Marc Loving was asked if he had the same belief as his coach that they were going to win today and explained,“I mean, being an underdog, we had nothing to lose. We had a chip on our shoulder from the beginning. We felt very, very prepared for the game. We executed our system.”
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