PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (Sporting Alert) — North Carolina will look to bounce-back from its shocking loss to Butler in the last outing when it takes on UCLA in a consolation game of the Battle 4 Atlantis on Thanksgiving Day in Paradise Island, Bahamas.
The No. 5 Tar Heels (3-1) were upset 74-66 in the opening game of the tournament by Butler on Wednesday night and head coach Roy Williams admits that his team was simply outplayed.
“They outplayed us and definitely outcoached us,” Williams said after the last game.
“We had some chances at the end, but again, you have to congratulate their defense for doing such a good job.”
Junior guard Marcus Paige scored a season-high 18 points on 5-of-17 shooting to lead the way for North Carolina, who had just two other players scoring in double figures in the defeat.
On Thursday night Williams’ side will face the No. 22 UCLA (4-1), which will also try to rebound from its first defeat of the season.
The Bruins were stunned 75-65 by Oklahoma in their Battle 4 Atlantis quarterfinals fixture, with Bryce Alford scoring 19 points to lead the way for UCLA. The Bruins also collected a double-double from Kevon Looney, who finished with 16 points and 15 rebounds.
The match-up on Thursday night will see the Tar Heels and Bruins both featuring in their first top 25 fixture of the season, but the two teams weren’t expecting the clash would have happened in the losers bracket.
“Carolina didn’t think they were going to be in that bracket. We didn’t think we were going to be in that bracket,” UCLA head coach Steve Alford said.
“But that’s reality. That’s what hits you and you have to deal with it.”
Thursday’s game will tip-off at 7 p.m. ET.
In an earlier tip-off at 3:30 p.m., No. 2 Wisconsin will take on Georgetown, with both teams looking for their second win in the tournament.
The Badgers (5-0) had little trouble brushing aside UAB 72-43 in their quarterfinals on Wednesday night, with Frank Kaminsky leading the way with 16 points, eight rebounds, three assists and three blocks for the victors.
On the same night, the Hoyas (4-0) edged No. 18 Florida 66-65 in overtime, with D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera making the game winning late jumper with 3.4 seconds left in the contest.
NCAA Basketball Top 25 Games on Thanksgiving
3:30 PM Georgetown vs (2) Wisconsin ESPN, WatchESPN
7:00 PM (5) North Carolina vs (22) UCLA
2:00 PM (11) Kansas vs Rhode Island ESPN2, WatchESPN
9:30 PM (18) Florida vs UAB
6:30 PM (20) Michigan St vs Rider ESPN2, WatchESPN