Las Vegas Invitational: UNC Tar Heels vs UCLA Bruins

Las Vegas Invitational

Tar Heels and Bruins Battle it Out in 3rd Place Game

Two of college basketball’s blue bloods came to the 2018 Las Vegas Invitational set on winning a holiday tournament trophy. Well, that didn’t happen. The 7th-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels will battle the 17th-ranked UCLA Bruins. They will be playing for third place on Friday at the Orleans Arena.

TV: 4 p.m. ET, FOX

Line: North Carolina -10; O/U: 169.5.

The Tar Heels were bitch-slapped by unranked Texas 92-89, while UCLA was slammed by No. 11 Michigan State 87-67 in Thursday’s semifinals.

Both teams now must make a quick turnaround, as well as some adjustments, to avoid an 0-2 trip to Sin City.

“Bottom line is, Texas played much better than we did,” North Carolina coach Roy Williams told the newsobserver.com afterward. “Played much more aggressive than we did. Points off turnovers, 31 to 19, that’s something we can’t have. Fast break points, North Carolina gets two points on the fast break. We can’t play like that.”

At least North Carolina had a chance to tie it at the end. UCLA trailed 51-22 late in the first half, never was really in the game.

One very bright spot for the 5-1 Tar Heels was the play of freshman guard Coby White. He scored 33 points  recorded three assists. White was 7-of-10 shooting on 3-pointers as well. White’s 33 points were the most by a North Carolina freshman since Harrison Barnes scored 40 in a game in 2011.

Senior guard Cameron Johnson scored 16 points. Returning All-ACC First Team pick Luke Maye, who had a potential game-tying shot go in-and-out with 33.9 seconds remaining, finished with 11 and nine rebounds.

The 4-1 Bruins were out-muscled badly by a veteran and physical Michigan State squad. They shot a dismal 35.6 percent. Prize 7-1 freshman center Moses Brown was held scoreless in the first half and finished with just five points and 10 rebounds. He came into the contest averaging 17.3 points and 12 rebounds.

PREDICTION: North Carolina 91, UCLA 85

Las Vegas Invitational: UNC Tar Heels vs UCLA Bruins 1

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Next up:
North Carolina at Michigan Wednesday, November 28
UCLA home to Hawaii Wednesday, November 28

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Las Vegas Invitational: UNC Tar Heels vs UCLA Bruins 1