North Carolina coach Hubert Davis 'shocked' by lack of energy, effort vs. Kentucky
North Carolina got blown out by Kentucky in Las Vegas on Saturday afternoon.
The Tar Heels fell behind early and never recovered, ultimately losing 98-69 to a much more engaged Wildcats team. This was Kentucky’s first win of the season vs. a top-100 KenPom team.
North Carolina struggled in two key areas — behind the 3-point line and on defense.
The Tar Heels shot just 1-of-13 from beyond the arc, with the lone make coming from Brady Manek. North Carolina’s other top shooters — Caleb Love, Dawson Garcia and Kerwin Walton — went 0-for-4 from downtown.
Defensively, North Carolina put up little resistance. Kentucky shot a staggering 54 percent from the field and 53 percent from 3-point range. In the second half, those figures improved to 67 percent and 63 percent, respectively.
After the game, coach Hubert Davis was exasperated when addressing his teams lack of energy and effort vs. the Wildcats.
“That’s the part that I’m just shocked by,” Davis told reporters after the loss. “Talking about energy and effort … not just in a game against Kentucky, just in a game in general. I don’t get that. I was shocked by it against Tennessee and I’m shocked by it today.”
Hubert Davis says he’s shocked his team lacked energy and effort tonight against Kentucky. pic.twitter.com/9cnKeKLdEg
— Carolina Blitz (@KeepBlitzin) December 19, 2021
Armando Bacot was the lone bright spot in this game. He scored 22 points on 8-of-13 shooting and grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds.
North Carolina has one more nonconference game remaining vs. Appalachian State on Tuesday. The Tar Heels will then turn their attention to their ACC slate, which continues on Dec. 29 vs. Virginia Tech.
UNC is still on track to earn an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament, but it will need to take care of business in conference play. The Tar Heels lost three of their four matchups vs. high-major competition in nonconference atmospheres. Their only such win came at home vs. Michigan, while all three losses were on a neutral court.