College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, December 4, 2010
With their season on the brink of disaster, the North Carolina Tar Heels knew they'd have to be at their best to avoid a fourth loss on the early season when the Kentucky Wildcats came calling to the Dean Smith Center.
what they found, over 40 minutes of manic, sometimes desperate, play, was a tough-minded big man in Tyler Zeller and the resolve to defeat a committed opponent.
Zeller, who led both teams in scoring and rebounding with 27 points and 11 boards, canned key free throws down the stretch to seal a 75-73 Tar Heel win and keep North Carolina's record respectable, at 5-3.
Zeller, a seven-foot junior who's been injured for parts of each of the past two seasons, put up career highs in both scoring and rebounding and recorded his second double-double of the season. He also nailed 11-of-12 free throws, many of them pressure shots to keep the Tar Heels in front down the stretch.
The #10 Wildcats suffered their second loss of the season (5-2). They fell to Connecticut on November 24, both losses coming away from home.