North Carolina hosts NC State looking to avenge a 79-76 loss in Raleigh in December. The Wolfpack topped the Tar Heels for the first time in nearly three years at PNC Arena. Now, State looks to sweep the regular season series for the first time since 2003.
State started the season 6-1 and won its first two ACC games before losing three straight, including a 32 point loss at Florida State on Jan. 13. The Wolfpack has been sidelined the last 10 days due to COVID testing and tracing. Coach Kevin Keatts said the team wouldn’t be at full strength due to the fallout from the virus testing but the Pack would have more players available than they did following the team’s previous shutdown, in December.
State also may be without Manny Bates, who is recovering from an ankle sprain and is a game-time decision. Bates in not in State’s starting lineup of Funderburk, Hellems, Allen, Beverly and Daniels.
North Carolina will start Leaky Black, Caleb Love, Kerwin Walton, Armando Bacot and Garrison Brooks.
The Heels have been moving the ball better, assisting on a higher percentage of their baskets in recent outings. Keatts said that Carolina is much improved over the first game—the Tar Heels are shooting better, avoiding turnovers and showing more confidence.
UNC is 9-5, 4-3 in the ACC and have played more games than any other ACC team in this pandemic-marred season. After an 0-2 start to ACC play, the Heels have won four of the last five, including last time out—a seven-point win over Wake Forest
All 14 players on the NC State roster are in the pregame layup line.
Hellems hits from three to start things. He was 0-for-8, 0-for-3 from three in the first game.
State with back-to-back shot clock violations.
Manny Bates checks in four minutes in. Running the floor well on that balky ankle.
Lots of contact being allowed early on in this one. UNC rides a 6-0 run into the early lead. At the under 16, it's 10-9 Heels.
The Heels led for a total of 24 seconds in the first game, at 2-0.
Caleb Love with his third driving layup of the game. He was 3-of-14 in the first game, 3-of-4 early today.
State with no early answer for Bacot. He's 5-of-6 around the basket today.
Hellems and Daniels keeping State in this one. They have seven points each.
Remember when I said they were letting them play? We have the under 12 timeout at 9:43 because there were no stoppages in play. Heels up 22-20.
Teams have combined to make 10 of the last 11 shot attempts
Some scoring list items of note: Day'Ron Sharpe (4 points) has passed Jackson Simmons. Armando Bacot (10) has passed Pat Sullivan.
So much for the hot shooting. Caleb Love comes out of the timeout and almost airballs a layup.
State remaining hot, hitting 7 of its last 10. Score is tied at 26.
And just like that we're at the under 8. Anthony Harris hits a three to give UNC a 29-26 lead.
Armando Bacot hits the GBLT (Garrison Brooks Long Two ... pronounced "giblet"). He has 12 on 6-of-7 shooting.
At the under four, UNC clinging to a 33-31 lead.
UNC has hit 5-of-7 and is on a 6-0 run. Lead is up to eight.
Sharpe with a hot stretch late in the half. He's up to 12 points. Lead is 10
At the half, UNC leads 43-33. Heels hitting .568 from the field, only have five turnovers.
Carolina already has three turnovers to start the second half. State hasn't capitalized, as the lead remains nine points.
Brooks picks up his third foul. After whistling a total of eight fouls on both teams combined in the first half, refs have already called four in four minutes of this half.
Yet another foul takes us to the under 16. Carolina leads 53-45.
First half was UNC's best shooting half of the season, and the 10-point lead was Carolina's largest at the half this year. The Heels averaged 1.0 points per possession in the half.
RJ Davis scores six straight points and NC State calls time out. With 13:36 to play, UNC leads 59-45
6-0 run for State coming out of the time out gets it back to single digits
Sharpe scores and we hit the under 12 (at 11:58 this half, because everything is suddenly a foul). UNC up 61-51.
Hellems now has three fouls. Refs are up to 10 fouls in nine and a half minutes after eight in the entire first half.
Brooks picks up his fourth.
A Platek miss bounces out of bounds and we're at the under eight. UNC up 67-55.
Walker Kessler misses two free throws. UNC is 1-of-7 from the line.
Bates is up to seven blocks in the game for NC State
State gets two from the line (of course) and gets it back to single digits. 4:43 to play. UNC with a turnover on a second straight possession. Heels are letting State hang around. Second half has no flow on either end.
Beverly for three and just like that, lead is down to six.
Walton responds, but then so does Daniels. State calls time with 3:53 left. 75-69 UNC.
Funderburk now has three fouls. Anthony Harris now has three fouls.
Garrison Brooks fouls out on an and-one. State to the line, trailing 81-74 with 1:20 left. That's the 20th foul called by the refs this half. Coaches always say they don't care if a game is officiated tight or loose, as long as it's consistent. These two halves could not have been less consistent.
And that will do it. UNC dribbles out the clock for an 86-76 win.