Gameday Live Blog/Open Thread: State vs. UNC

Brett Friedlander

The atmosphere at PNC Arena tonight is typical of an NC State-North Carolina rivalry game, even though this is anything but a typical matchup between the Wolfpack and Tar Heels.

Coach Roy Williams' team comes into the game at 9-10 overall, 2-6 in the ACC, featuring a patchwork lineup that will be missing four key players, including star freshman point guard Cole Anthony. 

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Cole Anthony is "suited up" ... but not in uniform tonight 

The Wolfpack, by contrast, will finally be playing with a full lineup thanks to the return of injured regulars Manny Bates and Pat Andree.

State is favored by 5 1/2 points. But if you think this one is going to be a slam dunk for coach Kevin Keatts' team, you either aren't a Wolfpack fan or you haven't been following this series for long.

The Tar Heels are coming off their best effort in a month -- a 94-71 beatdown of Miami on Saturday that snapped a five-game losing streak. State is looking to rebound from the egg it laid in a 64-58 loss at Georgia Tech.

It would help the Wolfpack immensely if redshirt senior wing C.J. Bryce decides to show up tonight. He was there in Atlanta on Saturday. He just didn't score -- first time in his two seasons at State that's happened. To make matters worse, he didn't even attempt a shot in the second half after going 0 for 4 in the opening 20 minutes.

Needless to say, State could use his usual contribution tonight.

A sellout crowd is expected, so the one thing that's certain tonight is that it's going to be loud. 

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Manny Bates is in uniform and ready to go after missing the past two games

PREGAME

The ACC has sent out the big guns for this one -- Roger Ayers, Mike Eades and Bert Smith are the officials tonight.

Markell Johnson, C.J. Bryce, Devon Daniels, Jericole Hellems and D.J. Funderburk to start for the Wolfpack. Leaky Black, Andrew Platek, Brandon Robinson, Garrison Brooks and Armando Bacot the first five for UNC. ...

If the Tar Heels are going to have a chance at pulling this off tonight, they've got to get Funderburk in foul trouble and dominate the inside battles. Bates' contribution tonight will be a key ...

A moment of silence for the memory of Gene Corrigan -- the former ACC commissioner and father of State AD Boo Corrigan's father -- before tonight's game. ...

State student section chanting "Not that Gifted" as UNC's starting lineup is introduced ...

It's a "color rush" game tonight, with both teams wearing their dark uniforms ...Wolfpack in red, Tar Heels in blue. It's a very nice look that should be done more often.

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Both teams are wearing their colored uniforms ... a very nice look!

FIRST HALF 

Wolfpack off to a strong start ... Funderburk scores from close range and Hellems follows with a trey. Now a baseline jumper from Hellems and its 7-0 State. Don't get too excited yet, though. Wolfpack was up 10-0 at Virginia Tech a couple of weeks before going completely flat ...

Hellems, who went 1 for 8 (0 for 4 on 3-pointers) has made his first three shots tonight, two of them from beyond the arc. He has eight of his team's first 12 points ...

First TV timeout: State 12, UNC 6

Bates checks in for the first time at the 15:20 mark ...

UNC gets four offensive rebounds around the rim before Garrison finally scores to tie the game at 12 ...

Beverly hits his first 3-point attempt of the night. He's been money his entire career against the Tar Heels from distance. In four career games against UNC, Beverly is now 15 of 24 from 3-point range (62.5 percent) and is averaging 14.8 points per game. In two games against the Tar Heels last season, he averaged 19 points per game and shot 75 percent (9-of-12) from long distance. ...

Under 12 TV timeout: UNC 18., State 17

Long-time Wolfpack Club executive director Bobby Purcell, who is retiring in May and was recently elected to the NC Sports Hall of Fame, is being honored on the court during the  timeout ...

Moment of levity from official Roger Ayers, who hurt his back when he crashed into the media table on the baseline the last time he did a State game at PNC. After a play in which he barely eluded two players as they battled for a ball that went out of bounds, Ayers turned to the fans sitting courtside and said "Thanks for your help ... last time I got knocked down." ....

Tar Heels already have five offensive rebounds  ...

Under 8 TV timeout: State 21, UNC 20

UNC's Brandon Robinson comes up limping after committing a foul on Devon Daniels. He immediately comes out of the game and is now being attended to by the Tar Heels' training staff ... Now he's being taken to the locker room ...

C.J. Bryce and Markell Johnson are a combined 0 for 8 from the floor tonight ...

Johnson finally gets one to go, a floater in the lane ... and now a layup, two steals and another layup to put the Wolfpack back on top. Now State just needs to get Bryce going ...

Under 4 TV timeout: State 31, UNC 30

Beverly takes a massive hit while drawing a charge from Black ... He goes down hard, but gets right back up. Tough little guy ... Black, meanwhile, limps off and now he is being looked at by UNC's trainer ...

Bacot gets away with a walk, scores and is fouled by Dixon ... then Dixon bobbles the rebound right into Brooks' hands for a put-back and a four-point play to finish the half. Not a good way to finish the period.

Halftime: UNC 39, State 35

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SECOND HALF

If State wants to have any chance at all of winning this game, it absolutely has to have some kind of contribution from CJ Bryce. It has gotten nothing from him for the past game and a half ...

UNC off to a 6-2 start in the half to open up an eight-point lead and State turns it over. Keatts irate at his team, calls timeout less than three minutes into the period ...

Brooks has 21 points for the Tar Heels and is absolutely terrorizing Hellems by posting him up low. Keatts has got to go with the two bigs or they're going to get killed inside. ...Bates in there now ...

Funderburk on Brooks ...

State has gone more than four minutes without a field goal. It has at least one of these every game. Daniels finally ends the drought with a tough baseline jumper at the shot clock buzzer.

Under 16 TV timeout: UNC 47, State 40

Daniels and Funderburk have finally gotten State going offensively again. But the Wolfpack needs stops to get back into this one. And it's not happening yet ...

Keeling and Pierce haven't done anything all year for UNC ... They've scored the Tar Heels' last seven points ... 

And now Ayers calls an illegal screen on Dixon that nullifies a Johnson layup. Wolfpack is is a heap of trouble ...

Under 12 TV timeout: UNC 60, State 52

Hellems is called for his fourth foul on a play with little to no contact and Robinson putting up a heave with the shot clock running out. Robinson makes all three and the UNC lead is up to 11 ...

Beverly drains a three and has a collision with Robinson as he turns to go upcourt. Robinson is still down ...

Under 8 TV timeout: UNC 65, State 57

A Funderburk alley oop, a Daniels steal and dunk, and it's a four point game ...

Four fouls on UNC's Black ...

Bates gets a beautiful lob inside from Johnson and misses the layup. How do you not dunk that? UNC takes advantage as Platek scores on the other end ...

Last TV timeout: UNC 71, State 61

State's body language right now suggests that this one might be done ...

Bryce looks like he's headed for his second straight 0-fer. He's missed all eight shots tonight ...

Bates fouls out ...

UNC hasn't scored in the last 2:42, but State hasn't taken advantage, going 1 for its last 7 from the floor ...

State has now lost four straight to the Tar Heels and two straight overall to teams with losing records. Not the way to impress the NCAA tournament selection committee in March, especially with the toughest part of the schedule still to come ...

Final: UNC 75, State 67

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