After a wild first game of the Sunday’s Elite Eight action that saw underdog VCU, a No. 11 seed and First Four participant, advance to the Final Four, Kentucky and North Carolina hit the court in hopes of keeping their NCAA Tournament dreams alive. The matchup, featuring a plethora of NBA-level talent, lived up to its billing as the Tar Heels and Wildcats traded punches for 40 minutes in a game that came down to the wire.
Kentucky owned the first half, taking a 38-30 lead into halftime. But in the second half, North Carolina came storming right back, making a run of their own to tie it up with three minutes to go. All game long, Kentucky found an answer for every Carolina run, stopping the momentum with a clutch three or big bucket when it was needed most.
And again, with time winding down and Carolina surging, Kentucky made the big shot as DeAndre Liggins buried a three from the corner to make it a four-point game with 35 seconds to go. The Wildcats made the stop on the other end as Darius Miller rejected Harrison Barnes’ three-point attempt, allowing Kentucky to seal a 76-69 win.
Tyler Zeller had a team-high 21 points for the Tar Heels. Harrison Barnes added 18 points and six rebounds, but it wasn’t enough for North Carolina. Brandon Knight led the way for the Wildcats with 22 points and all five Kentucky starters were in double figures.
The Wildcats move on to face UConn in the Final Four on April 2.
Here’s a look at the updated bracket after Sunday’s Elite Eight games. You can find the updated printable bracket at SB Nation, as well.
No. 4 Kentucky def No. 2 UNC, 76-69
No. 3 Connecticut Huskies def. No. 5 Arizona Wildcats, 65-63 OT
No. 11 VCU Rams def. No. 1 Kansas, 71-61
No. 8 Butler def. No. 2 Florida, 74-71
Check out the rest of the weekend’s results in our NCAA Tournament results StoryStream.