The Kentucky Wildcats took the floor Saturday in what felt like a must-win game after a 1-4 start to the season.
Originally, it was going to be a matchup with the UCLA Bruins but due to Coronavirus protocols it was switched to a battle with the North Carolina Tar Heels.
The Cats got off to an excellent start as they quickly jumped out to an 11-4 lead with just over 15 minutes left in the half.
However, North Carolina wasn’t going to go away as they stormed back to cut the lead to 19-17 with 11 minutes remaining.
The rest of the half was each team exchanging runs, but it was the Tar Heels holding the 29-27 lead at the under-four media timeout.
The final stretch of the half was won by the Cats and they were able to take a 38-34 lead into halftime.
The second half got off to a rough start shooting wise, but the defense was still playing at a high level. That defense allowed the Cats to hold a 42-40 lead at the under 16 timeout.
The game was tied at 49 with just under 12 minutes to go but UNC ran off a quick five points to go up 54-49 forcing Kentucky to take a timeout.
Unfortunately, the Cats had major foul trouble issues that resulted in Lance Ware, Olivier Sarr, and Isaiah Jackson fouling out giving UNC a major size advantage.
Without any bigs available, UNC was able to use their size to pull away down the stretch as they led 61-54 with just over five minutes to go.
With a minute remaining, Terrence Clarke was added to the fouled out list and North Carolina was able to come away with a 75-63 win.
The Cats are now 1-5 on the season and will have to figure things out quick or else they may go to the SEC Tournament needing to win it in order to make the NCAA Tournament.
Right from the tip and throughout the game, when the Cats needed someone to step up it was Davion Mintz that answered the call and that is why he is today’s MVP.
Mintz came out of the gate firing and he was making shots at a high percentage on his way to finishing with a season high 17-points on 6/11 shooting and was 3/6 from three. He also added eight rebounds and two assists.
We all knew Mintz was going to bring veteran experience and leadership to this team and he has been a bright spot in the early season struggles.
Mintz was awesome throughout the game and kept the Cats in it. Unfortunately, he didn’t get enough help in the Cats’ fifth loss in a row.
Up next, the Cats head to Louisville next Saturday to take on the Cardinals at noon EST on ESPN2.
A Sea of Blue comes loaded with Kentucky Wildcats links, news, analysis, and some other fun stuff, so ‘like’ our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter.