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Off the cuff: It's been a memorable last few days for Carolina basketball - what with the Celebration of a Century event Friday night and the jerseys of Wayne Ellington and Ty Lawson being honored prior to the start of the State game. Coach Roy Williams admitted that the weekend wouldn't be complete without a victory over State.

You have to think that the Heels - playing in front of more than 200 former Carolina players, who were introduced on the court at halftime - had a little more to play for in this game against the Wolfpack. No one would want to be embarrassed in front of all those men plus it's their time to join the fraternity of Carolina players.

Except for maybe Lennie Rosenbluth, Phil Ford, Charlie Scott, Bill Cunningham, Mitch Kupchak and Walter Davis, most all the big ovations during the introductions were for modern-era players. It's probably because a lot of those in attendance, especially those who are boisterous, weren't even born when most of those men played - and may not know them. However, I need Carolina players who had come before my college days. Former players that I wish had gotten larger ovations include those from the '60s that really put Carolina basketball back on the map - including Rusty Clark, Dick Grubar, Jim Delany, Bill Bunting, Eddie Fogler, Gerald Tuttle, Dave Chadwick and Lee Dedmon, among others. I don't think Larry Miller was there but he would be included in that list of players.

Tar Heels 74, N.C. State 61
Many contribute for Davis-less Heels

Only eight, including four freshmen, played for North Carolina but all contributed as the Tar Heels did something they haven't done often this season - pull away in the second half to win a game, this time at home over N.C. State 74-61. (2/13)

Carolina, playing without Ed Davis who has likely been lost for the season with a broken wrist, led just 33-31 at the half after losing a 33-24 advantage in the last two minutes. In the second half, though, the Tar Heels minimized turnovers and took control of the offensive boards.

"Needless to say, this feels a heck of a lot better than it has been feeling," said UNC coach Roy Williams who has seen his team lose four straight. "At halftime we had seven turnovers, and we only had three in the second half. At halftime they had seven offensive rebounds to our six, but at the end of the game we had 17 and they still had seven."

The shooting woes continued for the Heels as they shot less than 42 percent from the field and 65 percent from the foul line but Carolina outrebounded the Wolfpack 44-32 and came up with 10 steals.

Carolina controlled most of the second half but went cold for a long stretch and led just 56-52 with 6:18. But this game instead of faltering down the stretch, the Heels poured it on. John Henson, starting in place of Davis, scored, was fouled and sank the free throw to put the Heels up 59-52.

Larry Drew II scored five straight points, including a three pointer, to give Carolina a 64-52 edge with 2:25 to play. The lead got as high as 16 before the Heels settled for a 13-point victory.

Drew led the Heels with 15 points, including two of three triples, and seven assists with only two turnovers. Deon Thompson, who sat out part of the first half in foul trouble, chipped in 12 points while Dexter Strickland finished with 11 points.

Strickland had the play of the game in first half with a fastbreak dunk over a couple of State defenders that gave the Tar Heels a 31-24 lead with 2:30 left in the half.

Strickland was one of only three guys - Leslie McDonald and David Wear the others - who came off the bench.

"I think the guys that came in off the bench, who played in different spots and at different times of the game, for the most part, gave us something," Williams said. "When you look down [at the box score], no one had a great game statistically, but North Carolina has the most points."

Tracy Smith led the Wolfpack, who are in last place in the ACC with a 2-9 mark, with 20 points.

Carolina, which has now won eight straight against N.C. State, moves to 3-7 in the league and 14-11 overall. The Tar Heels play at Georgia Tech Tuesday night.

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