Bitstream Charter',Times,serif; font-size: 13px; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 19px; orphans: 2; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px;">Freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had 17 points and 11 rebounds as a spark Kentucky (8-0) needed early before Lamb took control in the second half with more than two dozen NBA scouts and front office personnel watching one of the most heavily hyped matchups of the season.
This one came down to the final possession.
Reggie Bullock hit a 3-pointer for North Carolina (6-2) to cut the Wildcats' lead to 73-72 with 48 seconds left. After Marquis Teague missed the front end of a one-and-one, Davis blocked Henson's shot, grabbed the rebound and the Wildcats ran out the clock.
The Wildcats haven't lost at Rupp Arena since coach John Calipari took over, a span of 38 games after also winning their final one at home under Billy Gillispie.
Lamb converted a three-point play as part of a 7-0 run that gave Kentucky a 63-60 lead. After Zeller hit a jumper to cut it to one, Lamb hit a pair of 3s, the second that gave the Wildcats a 69-64 lead with 3:47 left.
After a 3-pointer by Barnes, North Carolina's 11th of the game, made it 69-67. Darius Miller's basket made it 71-67 and Henson hit two free throws with 48 seconds to play to cut it back to two.
After Teague missed the front end of the one-and-one following a foul by Kendall Marshall with 21 seconds left, the Tar Heels had one more chance.
Marshall found Zeller and as Terrence Jones came to double team, he found Henson. Henson went up for a winner, but Davis used his 6-foot-10 frame and massive wingspan to block the ball. He grabbed the rebound as North Carolina never tried to foul as time expired.
Jones finished with 14 points and Miller had 12 for the Wildcats. North Carolina's P.J. Hairston scored 11 and Henson finished with 10.
Kentucky last reached No. 1 under Calipari in 2009-10, but promptly lost their first game after receiving the ranking. The Wildcats beat St. John's 81-59 on Thursday night before this matchup - the first between top five teams in Lexington in 13 years.
Last year, these two teams played a pair of memorable games with North Carolina winning 75-73 in Chapel Hill before Kentucky topped the Tar Heels 76-69 in the NCAA regional finals in March.
This one was equally as entertaining even though North Carolina slipped from the No. 1 spot last week when they lost to UNLV in Las Vegas to keep this from being the first No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup in the 35-year history of Rupp Arena.
The Tar Heels committed five early turnovers, but Hairston, who had been questionable to play because of a sprained left wrist, hit a pair of 3-pointers upon entering to give North Carolina a 24-18 lead.
A jumper by Barnes extended it to 34-25, the biggest deficit the Wildcats faced this season and Kentucky trailed at the half for the first time this season, 43-38.
It's the first time the two schools have met this highly ranked since Dec. 26, 1981 in East Rutherford, N.J., when Michael Jordan, James Worthy and Sam Perkins combined for 66 points in North Carolina's 82-69 victory.
Kentucky standout Sam Bowie didn't play in that game because of a stress fracture in his left leg, but that game still featured 18 draft picks - including five that went in the first two rounds. The NBA draft was 10 rounds until 1984.
KENTUCKY 73, No. 5 NORTH CAROLINA 72
NORTH CAROLINA (6-2): Henson 4-11 2-2 10, Barnes 5-12 0-0 14, Zeller 4-9 6-6 14, Strickland 2-6 1-2 5, Marshall 3-6 0-0 8, Hairston 3-4 2-2 11, Watts 0-1 0-0 0, Bullock 3-8 0-0 8, McAdoo 1-3 0-2 2. Totals 25-60 11-14 72.
KENTUCKY (8-0): Jones 5-14 3-3 14, Kidd-Gilchrist 6-10 5-7 17, Davis 3-6 1-1 7, Lamb 6-12 0-0 14, Teague 3-11 1-3 7, Miller 4-8 3-4 12, Vargas 0-1 0-0 0, Wiltjer 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 28-63 13-18 73.
Halftime_North Carolina 43-38. 3-Point Goals_North Carolina 11-18 (Barnes 4-5, Hairston 3-4, Marshall 2-4, Bullock 2-5), Kentucky 4-17 (Lamb 2-3, Miller 1-2, Jones 1-5, Kidd-Gilchrist 0-1, Davis 0-2, Teague 0-4). Fouled Out_None. Rebounds_North Carolina 36 (Henson, Zeller 8), Kentucky 38 (Kidd-Gilchrist 11). Assists_North Carolina 17 (Marshall 8), Kentucky 9 (Teague 4). Total Fouls_North Carolina 16, Kentucky 12.A_24,398.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.