CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Freshman sensation Terrence Jones suffered through the worst game of his brief college career in Kentucky's 75-73 loss at North Carolina on Saturday. His 3-for-17 shooting marked more misses than he'd had in UK's two most recent games. He failed for the first time to score double-digit points.
Spindly forward John Henson, who defended Jones, credited his 2-inch height advantage as a key factor.
"Just my length," he said in explaining how he contained Jones, who already had twice been the Southeastern Conference's Freshman of the Week. "I don't think he ever had to go against anyone with my length. I'm a little quicker, too. I wanted to throw that at him and not gamble and make him shoot over me."
Two quick three-point misses early got Jones a seat on the bench. Later, his attempts to drive yielded only highly contested shots in the lane.
Pick-and-roll action freed Jones briefly late in the first half. But he missed all seven shots in the second half.
"Terrence is a load, to say the least," UNC Coach Roy Williams said. "We tried to use John because of John's size. But Terrence is a man out there. Defending him was very important. Defense on Brandon (Knight) was important, too."
UK assistant coach Orlando Antigua called the game "a teaching point" for Jones and the other players. Jones, one of four Cats to foul out, committed at least two fouls far from the basket area.
"A couple of silly fouls," Antigua said. "Reaching. Slapping down. You probably get away with that in high school, but you can't on this level."
Jones was not made available to reporters after the game.
Freshman Doron Lamb thrived in the high-stakes atmosphere. His 24 points were a career high.
When a reporter asked if his three three-pointers (equaling a career high) meant he felt like he could make every shot, Lamb said, "Yeah. That's how I shoot. Every time I shoot, I think they're going in. You're right about that one."
Antigua suggested that Lamb's experience playing for high school powerhouse Oak Hill Academy and his background growing up in Queens, N.Y., was a factor.
"He's a New York City kid," Antigua said with a knowing smile. "He was just playing basketball. The kid's confident. We know he can do that. It didn't surprise us."
'Tough getting calls'
UK committed 26 fouls, the most since being called for 27 against West Virginia in the 2010 NCAA Tournament.
"We knew it would be tough getting calls and they'd get most of the calls," Knight said matter-of-factly. "That's just how it is."
Lamb lamented two fouls on Josh Harrellson and Jones late in the game.
"Josh and Terrence made a couple of dumb fouls at the end that were stupid fouls," he said.
Antigua noted that the kiddie Cats needed to learn how to play better when in foul trouble.
Williams applauds fans
The UNC coach welcomed the cheering from a crowd announced at 20,695. He really saw no alternative.
Noting that he attended a UNC men's soccer game in the NCAA Tournament on Friday, Williams said, "I'm 60 years old and playing Kentucky tomorrow. But my (butt) was up cheering."