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Off the cuff: It will always be a rivalry around these parts no matter if both teams are good, neither is good or one or the other is good.

NC State fans vandalized the Dean Smith Center before the start of Saturday’s UNC vs. NC State game. To see it, please click here.

Tar Heels 84, NC State 70
UNC comes out strong to pop rival Pack

North Carolina came out strong, running out to an 18-4 lead, and wound up winning by that same 14-point margin at 84-70 over rival N.C. State in Chapel Hill. (2/1)

The Tar Heels, who missed a lot of shots around the rim, were still able to take a 17-point lead into the half at 40-23 in part due to the Wolfpack's poor shooting.

Carolina played tough defense but not so tough as to account for the Pack's 25 percent field goal rate in the opening half. While the Tar Heels were able to work the lead up to 22 in the second half, the Pack turned their shooting woes around - hitting 65 percent of their shots in the second half.

During a one-minute run starting with just over five minutes to play, the Pack scored nine straight to draw a 21-point deficit down to just 12. But it never got closer than 10 the rest of the way.

"We dug ourselves too big of a hole," said State coach Mark Gottfried. "We got off to a really slow start. We missed foul shots. We got a couple of good looks and missed those."

He said the Tar Heels then defended well the rest of the half and it kind of steamrolled.

During the 18-4 opening run, the Tar Heels blocked five Wolfpack shots and forced the visitors into two shot clock violations.

Carolina extended the margin to 17 on a JP Tokoto three from the right corner late in the first half.

In the second half, despite hot shooting, State was only able to chop one point off the UNC lead by the first TV timeout and three points by the second TV timeout.

A 13-4 Tar Heel run over the next four minutes upped the margin to a commanding 22 points at 68-46 following a Leslie McDonald triple with 8:13 left in the game.

While he wasn't happy with the letdown that followed, UNC coach Roy Williams said he was really pleased with the defense in the first half and the free throw shooting throughout.

The Tar Heels hit 25 of 37 free throws including 15 of their last 17.

"I really believe we're getting better as a team," Williams said. "I told (the players) that we are close to being a good steam."

It was the third win in a row for the Tar Heels who even their ACC record at 4-4 and move to 14-7 overall. The Wolfpack drops to 4-5 in the league and 14-8 overall.

McDonald scored a season-high 20 points while James Michael McAdoo scored 16 points and hauled in 13 rebounds. Marcus Paige tallied 15, going seven of seven from the foul line, while Brice Johnson added 10.

Carolina hosts Maryland Tuesday night.


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