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Cats Beat Tar Heels In 87-83 Thriller

Kentucky FINALLY wins a big game in what feels like the first time in a decade. The Cats win at the CBS Sports Classic against #9 ranked North Carolina on an exciting Saturday evening in Atlanta.

Kentucky came in as a 1.5 point underdog in a game expected to be won in the paint for UNC. However, Kentucky got All-American and potential National Player of the Year center Armando Bacot in foul trouble early, preventing any sort of free-flow from the big. Additionally, Kentucky debuted Ugonna Onyenso for the season, providing more depth in the paint and another 7-footer that caused trouble for anyone around the rim, including Bacot.

For anyone keeping tabs on X/Twitter for John Calipari's postgame comments, it was confirmed that Ugonna Onyenso flew down seperately due to the flu and the team was immediately greeted by the 7-footer going to the bathroom upon arrival. After preparing for his first game in his sophomore season, he was a pogo stick in the paint. He earned 3 blocks for the team along with 1 point and 1 rebound in just 10 minutes.

Aaron Bradshaw stepped up in a huge way against Armando Bacot tonight as he was the focus of the Tarheels' offense. As I am sitting courtside typing this, I can count 6 times that Bradshaw took the physicality and held his own. Aaron finished 4-6 from the field and provided a spark in the first half by stepping out on the left wing and knocking down a three-pointer.

While having a great first half, he recorded his third and fourth fouls early in the second half, sidelining him for a good chunk of time before coming in late to hit some big free throws to seal the game for the 'Cats.

The biggest outlier to me was the shortcomings of Armando Bacot. He scored only 9 points on 3-4 shooting from the field and grabbed just 6 boards. Holding him to almost 6 boards under what his projected over/under (11.5) was set at was crucial. Kentucky as a team outrebounded UNC 42-32, which we all know usually leads to winning the ball game in most cases.

The guards also had a game of their own, but we've now come to expect that each night. It's starting to become the identity of this team in my opinion. With that being said, the big men stepped up in an even bigger moment today which I believe was in the game plan from the staff.

The Wildcats are now 8-2 this season and will look to face Louisville on Thursday in about as guaranteed of a win as one could wish for.

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