Randle Non-existent As Kentucky Falls To North Carolina

Julius Randle

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Julius Randle picked the wrong time to have the worst game of his young career for Kentucky in the Wildcats’ 82-77 loss to North Carolina in Chapel Hill Saturday.

From the tip, Randle was out of sorts. Carolina attacked the hoop on offense and forced Randle outside of his comfort zone in the post. Randle’s defensive struggles transferred over to his offense. The star freshman looked exactly like a young player overwhelmed by the moment. He committed two quick fouls in the first half and watched much of it from the bench. He only registered three points and three rebounds during his short time on the court in the first 20 minutes. North Carolina took advantage as James Michael McAdoo and J.P. Tokoto sparked the offense. McAdoo looked like a totally different player than he has been over the last month. He aggressively drove to the Randle-less paint and scored 20 points. Marcus Paige did the same in the second half en route to his game-high 23 points.

Not much changed for Randle in the second half. He was benched just three minutes into the half. He quickly returned to the court but he never looked quite right. It was not entirely his fault as his teammates hardly went to the big man. Oftentimes, it seemed Randle was not even on the court. Randle let UNC grab offensive rebounds on free throws and committed an intentional foul late. Randle finished with only 11 points and five rebounds. It was a season-low in rebounds and one point better than his season-low in points.

Maybe it was just an aberration and Randle will use his NBA-like frame to post double-double after double-double and dominate the SEC. However, North Carolina coach Roy Williams clearly told his team to drive, force Randle to move around and play physical with him. This scheme definitely slowed Randle down.

Randle will be a dominate player going forward, but Kentucky coach John Calipari has to be somewhat concerned with how Randle played against UNC.

Gregory T. Philson is an ACC college basketball writer at RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @GTPhilson, “Like” him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.

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