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Off the cuff: Despite the fact that North Carolina has now beaten N.C. State 10 straight times, it feels more like a rivalry.

Wolfpack coach Sidney Lowe got a technical foul. Wake County deputies were stationed behind the Carolina bench. Players woofed at each other a little and players screamed after dunks. The intensity was there.

N.C. State players certainly played with more intensity than they did at Chapel Hill. The State fans were into it and stayed in it even when Carolina got up by nine points twice in the second half. The fans didn't throw in the towel until Zeller's dunk follow with a minute left gave Carolina an 11-point lead.

The Lowe technical really was a silly technical that hurt his team. With the Tar Heels up 67-59 and a minute and a half to go, Lowe complained that one of his players was fouled. Not only did replays show a clean blocked shot but Carolina got free throws AND the ball.

The game had gone back and forth with State leading by 10 points in the first half only to lose the lead by halftime. Plus, the Pack was within four points with five minutes to go.

The Tar Heels have won 16 of the last 17 games but this was a hard-fought game that was not determined until the last few minutes. With young key players on both squads, this could continue to feel like a rivalry again for some time to come.

By the way, freshman Kendall Marshall grabbed freshman Harrison Barnes and told him to dial it down a notch after he screamed following his second late-game dunk. Good for Marshall but at least Barnes gets the rivalry.

Tar Heels 75, NC State 63
Tar Heels open up close game late

Clinging to a hard-fought 60-56 lead, North Carolina got more late-game heroics from freshman Harrison Barnes, who came up with two dunk follows over just 25 seconds and then followed that with a three from the left wing as the Tar Heels beat N.C. State 75-63 in Raleigh. (2/23)

The final score wasn't indicative of the game. In fact, the Wolfpack led the Tar Heels 19-9 midway through the first half and came back from nine down to tie the game at 50-all midway through the second half.

With the score tied and UNC big man Tyler Zeller in foul trouble, things were looking pretty good for N.C. State. But UNC's Reggie Bullock, who had been cold, drained a 17 footer and was fouled. He converted the free throw and the Tar Heels led 53-50, and would never trail again as they ended the game on a 25-13 run.

N.C. State, behind C.J. Leslie's nine second-half points, kept the Pack in the game until Barnes reeled off those seven points and the Tar Heels hit free throws down the stretch. Leslie finished as the Wolfpack's leading scorer with 13 points while Barnes finished as the Heels' leading scorer with 16 points, 14 of which came in the second half.

UNC's Kendall Marshall, who had only one assist at halftime when the Heels led just 31-29, finished the game with 10 assists and 14 points. Dexter Strickland, who hit a big stop-and-pop during the determining second-half run, had 13 points. Zeller had 11 points and nine rebounds while John Henson had 15 rebounds and six blocked shots.

The Tar Heels, who host Maryland Sunday night, advance to 21-6 overall and 11-2 in the ACC while the Wolfpack falls to 14-13 and 4-9.





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