RALEIGH, N.C. - Roy Williams falls shorts on answers as the Heels are defeated in Raleigh against N.C. State, 79-76. The longstanding rivalry between the two powerhouses have been brewing since 1913, and for 107 years, the fire has never hotter.
For the first time since 2013, the Wolfpack defeated the Heels in Raleigh. North Carolina State plummeted North Carolina (5-3, 0-1 ACC) behind the three early, completing 67% of their shots. The Wolfpack dawns with a starting five of North Carolina kids who know all too well the importance of defeating the team down the road. Devon Daniels grinned ear to ear as he stepped into the press conference and stated,
"We finally got those boys!"
Staying true to the season, North Carolina opened the game trailing State early, only having the lead once at 2-0. The Heels consistently plagued N.C. State and chipped away at the deficit to close the half only down by seven, 49-42. With Andrew Platek and Walker Kessler's help, UNC went on a 13-3 run to close the half.
The second half was no different for the Heels as they continued tirelessly to catch up with the Pack. With just 12 minutes to go, North Carolina seemingly found their footing and inching to take the lead only one bucket shy at the 59-57 mark, but with constant turnovers and minimal outside shots, UNC couldn't catch a break.
Contributing to another late 9-0 run, UNC cut the lead to 73-77 With 2:45 left in the game. North Carolina held off State for 3 minutes without a bucket but still failed to deliver in closing out the competition. A series of missed lay-ups, jumpers, and a three from Armando Bacot, Caleb Love, and RJ Davis resulted in the freshmen experiencing their first loss in the ACC.
Roy Williams didn't fault his young backcourt stating that the entire team is at fault for the team's demise.
"I think when we got it to a one-point game, that two or three in a row, we took bad shots, and you can't do these kinds of things. State, we've been hammering them pretty good for several years; They're tired of that. I think the difference in the game to me was their sense of urgency early in the game. "
Urgency. Energy. Consistency. Words that have been consistent to describe the Heels play the entire season. For whatever reason, North Carolina can't seem to find their fight or hunger early; Something they'll need if they expect to adhere to any of this season's expectations. The ACC holds no punches, and North Carolina always has a target on their back.
Bacot finished with a team-high of 16 points and six rebounds.
Up next, North Carolina will face Georgia Tech in Georgia on December 30th.