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Off the cuff: That game against NC State was about as back-and-forth a game the two have engaged in with each other in a decade or so.

There were eight ties and 13 lead changes, including nine in the wild up-and-down first half. NC State started hot but the Pack's turnovers game the Tar Heels a chance to make it a close game.

While the game was going back and forth, it seemed that State was actually in some sort of control and only needed to cut out the turnovers to get a substantial lead.

But a 7-0 run starting with five minutes left in the first half seemed to change the tone of the game and allowed the Heels to take a 34-28 lead at the half.

P.J. Hairston started the run with a three just as the shot clock was expiring. Then James Michael McAdoo stepped in front of a Pack pass and went in for a two-handed, reverse dunk. Seconds later, Hairston came up with a steal, got it to McAdoo who dished to Reggie Bullock on the fast break for two.


Tar Heels 76, NC State 65
UNC, Paige get revenge against Pack

North Carolina, and particularly Marcus Paige, played poorly earlier in the season during a loss at N.C. State. Paige was the catalyst this time around as the Tar Heels took the lead with seven minutes to play and never looked back in a key 76-65 victory over the Wolfpack in Chapel Hill. (2/23)

The win puts Carolina in sole possession of third place, two games behind Duke and four games behind Miami with four ACC regular season games to go.

The Tar Heels led the Pack 40-30 early in the second half but over the next nine minutes State outscored Carolina 23-9 to go up 53-49 with 8:35 to go.

Reggie Bullock drew the Heels closer, taking advantage of a screen to hit a three from the top of the key. But it was Paige who gave Carolina the lead for good when he hit a three-point shot in transition.

"I was wide open and hesitated but I was so open I had to take it," said Paige, who ended with 14 points, eight assists, no turnovers and three steals.

In the 91-83 loss at State, Paige went only two of 11 and committed three turnovers.

"I was a little more focused (than the first game) and we had a better start," Paige said. "I think the first time I was a little timid playing my first big-time matchup against (Lorenzo) Brown."

Paige's open three jump started an 18-2 run over a four-minute period that helped the Tar Heels pull away in a game that had 13 lead changes and eight ties.

Bullock scored eight points, including two long threes, during the game-deciding run. He was the the leading scorer and rebounder for the Heels with 22 points and 13 rebounds. Scott Wood had 19 points for State and Richard Howell had 17 rebounds.

While UNC coach Roy Williams praised Bullock and Paige, he said it was a true team effort as he ran down a litany of contributions from various players.

"I like the fact that our guys have played harder and with a better sense of urgency," Williams said. "We did a better job of taking care of the basketball than we did in Raleigh."

Carolina had only eight turnovers while the regulars were in the game (over the last minute there were two more turnovers). In addition, Williams said this time around the Tar Heels only took one or two shots they shouldn't have taken.

"When State came back to take a four-point lead, our guys could have hung their heads but they didn't and they just kept playing," Williams said.

North Carolina improves to 9-5 in the ACC and 19-8 overall while N.C. State falls to 8-6 in the ACC and 19-8 overall. The Tar Heels play at Clemson Thursday night.


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