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Off the cuff: North Carolina's victory over Wake Forest was the 600th conference win for the Tar Heels program. That's more than any other team. Fortunately most of those have been prettier efforts than this one where UNC shot 31 percent and Wake shot 29 percent.

Carolina seemed to have the game in hand at halftime but mysteriously went nearly nine minutes between buckets at the start of the second half.

Luckily for the Heels, their defense was good and the Deacons' shooting eye was poor. Maybe it has something to do with those ugly, dizzying tie-dye shirts the Wake Forest students wear.

Interestingly, neither team turned the ball over much. In fact, Carolina turned the ball over just six times and Wake failed to score any of those six times.

Speaking of six, Kendall Marshall, who averages about 10 assists a game, had only six in this one but he lit it up offensively with a season-high 14 points. He hit an open three early in the game and hit another as the Heels were pulling away in the second half.

He also was part of the play of the game when John Henson got a rebound quickly, moved it out to Marshall who immediately went upcourt to Reggie Bullock who scored and was fouled. It was all quick and the ball never touched the ground. It also gave the Heels their largest lead of the game up to that point at 28-19.

Despite an ugly game, that was pretty.

Tar Heels 68, Wake Forest 53
UNC shoots poorly but still wins by 15

North Carolina, coming off one of its hottest shooting efforts of the season, shot a season-low 31 percent but got season-high scoring from Kendall Marshall and career-high rebounding by Tyler Zeller to handle Wake Forest 68-53. (1/31) Click for a photo gallery.

Marshall hit a pair of three pointers and finished with 14 points while Zeller had a career-high 18 rebounds to go with his 18 points. The Tar Heels needed those efforts, along with 14 points and four blocked shots by John Henson, due to the cold shooting and a Harrison Barnes turned ankle.

Barnes, who played 27 minutes, missed a good portion of the second half with the injury but it's not believed to be serious.

The game turned serious at the start of the second half as the Heels saw a 12-point halftime lead dwindle to seven at 42-35 as Carolina missed 13 of its first 14 shots of the half.

But the Tar Heels went on an 18-3 spurt to get a 22-point cushion, the largest of the game, at 60-38.

During the game-deciding run, Marshall stroked in a three from the corner and then came up with a steal and nifty, contested layup.

Barnes, who came back to play in the second half with new shoes and a newly taped ankle, still managed to finish with 13 points.

UNC coach Roy Williams said the Tar Heels play on the boards in the first half was the key, noting that the Heels had 12 points off offensive rebounds and not coincidentally led by 12 at the half.

Coach Williams said his team didn't have the energy it had in the last couple of games but that scheduling is what it is. Those tired legs may have contributed to the poor shooting but he gave some credit to both defenses for the poor shooting. Wake shoot even worse than Carolina as the Deacons hit 29.6 percent of their shots.

"In order to have a great season sometimes you have to win ugly," Williams said.

The Tar Heels, now 19-3 and 6-1 in the ACC, travel to Maryland for a 4 p.m. game Saturday.


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