“That’s not the best shot for our team,” Marshall said after the game.
The sophomore guard processed the paint. Zeller had Kentucky forward Anthony Davis sealed off in front of the block — a sign that the pass was safe to make.
Zeller had been double-teamed most of the game, which forced him to make four turnovers on the day. But the last time Zeller got the ball in the post, Kentucky retreated from the plan that had worked so effectively earlier. From Marshall to Zeller came a bounce pass with bit of right English.
Barnes, the team’s most prolific scoring threat, said after the game he was surprised he didn’t get the ball. Zeller dribbled and began to turn to the basket but was stripped on his way up. The ball danced in the air until it found the outstretched hands of John Henson, the longest player on UNC’s team.
Davis, realizing teammate Terrence Jones was supposed to be on Henson but was not, ran from the paint toward Henson with his arm extended. Kentucky coach John Calipari had stressed to his team all week that “even though it’s not their main shooter, go after it.”
Roy Williams has always said that if it’s a one-point game or tied, the best play is to go to the basket. But with seven seconds remaining, all 6 feet 11 inches of Henson, who has a 7-foot-4 wingspan, lifted off the ground and released a 15-foot jumper destined for the rim. But Davis got enough of the ball that it couldn’t even reach the rim’s stratosphere.
Davis collected the ball and briefly held it with his arms covering the ball and elbows out.
“I knew we would foul,” Williams said. “I was screaming ‘foul’ and I knew we would, too. But we didn’t.”
No one from UNC fouled. It took Marshall a couple of seconds to realize Henson had actually been blocked. And by that point, he thought time had expired.
Davis threw the ball across the floor to Teague, who dribbled harmlessly down the floor as the final second ticked off the clock.
After the game, Davis relished what he considered to be the best block of his career.
“Oh, guaranteed,” he said. “It was a game-winner against North Carolina.”
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