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The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

Did UNC ‘give up’ after Anthony Davis’s game-clinching block?

Ryan Greene
The Dagger

Before Anthony Davis's surreal swat of John Henson that sealed No. 1 Kentucky's 73-72 victory over No. 5 North Carolina on Saturday morning, there were several candidates to be the signature play of college hoops' best game so far this season.

After Tyler Zeller lost control of the ball in the paint on what would be his team's final possession, Henson found himself with what he thought to be a clean look at a 10-footer to give UNC the lead with seven seconds left. In one motion, Kentucky's 6-foot-10 freshman sensation extended, blocked the shot Inspector Gadget-style and corralled the ball in just 1.5 seconds.

But there was a lingering question after his heroics: Did North Carolina just give up at that point?

A quick recap from the video of what each of the five Tar Heels on the floor did in those final 5.5 seconds … {YSP:MORE}

• On Henson's way down from the shot attempt, Davis appeared to land on his lower right leg, which sent the Tar Heel forward's momentum backwards, but instead of charging back towards Davis, he started to move back up the floor. In his defense, he was in prime position to take away an outlet pass attempt from Davis to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist if it were to have come.

• Zeller was still in the paint when Davis got the ball, and also began moving up the floor, but wasn't covering anyone. After about two seconds, he made somewhat of an attempt to charge back towards Davis, but it was much too late.

• Reggie Bullock and Harrison Barnes were both away from the ball and, like Zeller, ultimately made a move towards Davis. But, also like Zeller, they waited too long to do so.

[ Related: Five things we learned from Kentucky-North Carolina ]

• Kendall Marshall, as Henson was taking the shot, began reeling back towards mid-court. Just before the trio of Heels made their way to Davis, he flipped a pass to Marquis Teague, who ran out the clock. Marshall's effort may look bad on tape as Teague made his way towards the timeline in the final two seconds but, in reality, the most Marshall could have probably done was salvage about a second on the clock for UNC had he fouled. He was simply too far away from the action to have done much more. Drifting back towards mid-court in the first place was a bit curious, given the situation.

Basically, UNC's general awareness in the situation was puzzling. It's hard to say that a team actually 'quit' after playing as hard as the Tar Heels did for 39:55, but it's possible that Davis's out-of-nowhere block stunned the players on the floor just as much as it did everyone watching from home.

Follow Ryan Greene on Twitter: @ryanmgreene

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