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Off the cuff: Seems that NC State always makes the Tar Heels look bad, even in victory. Last year the Wolfpack held the Heels to a Smith Center low 45 points and this year the Tar Heels shot the worst it has all year and the 67 points were tied for the lowest offensive output of the season.

Kennedy Meeks was the difference in the second half as he scored 18 of his 23 and got three blocked shots.

The biggest sequence in the first half was spurred on by Nate Britt. With Carolina trailing 21-16, Britt sank a three from the top of the key and seconds later came up with a steal and got it to Brice Johnson for a dunk to tie the score.

The biggest sequence in the second half was spurred on my Joel Berry. With Carolina trailing 34-31, Berry sank a three from the right wing and less than 30 seconds later came up with a loose ball and got it to Meeks for a dunk to make it 36-34.

Meeks banged his non-injured knee late in the game but is ok. Joel James has been hobbled with a sore achilles.


Tar Heels 67, NC State 55
Starter again, Meeks lifts UNC over Pack

UNC's Kennedy Meeks, coming off a knee injury, got his first start in a month and he made the most of it, especially in the second half, as he scored 23 in a 67-55 win at home over rival NC State. (1/16)

Meeks tallied just five points in the first half as Isaiah Hicks and Nate Britt gave the Heels enough of a lift off the bench to manage a 29-all tie at the half.

With the score tied at 34 and 17 minutes left, Joel Berry came up with a loose ball and got it to Meeks for a dunk, making it 36-34 Carolina. The Tar Heels never trailed again. A 14-2 run, highlighted by a pair of Berry threes, ended when Meeks made a nice pivot move for two that put the Heels up 45-36 with 13:25 left.

The Tar Heels got their first double-digit lead at 49-39 midway through the second half when Meeks hit a short hook shot. It never got closer than seven the rest of the way and the lead grew to 12 at 55-43 when UNC's Justin Jackson hit a three from the right wing with less than seven minutes to go. Twelve points, also the final margin, was the largest lead of the game.

Neither team shot well as Carolina hit 38 percent of its shots while State hit 40 percent. The Tar Heels hit only five of 20 three points.

Carolina's defense in the second half was key as the Heels held the Pack to 33 percent shooting in the half, including no points for State's leading scorer Cat Barber, who finished with just nine.

"The kids gave a great effort," said Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried. "But things changed in the second half. Their ability to get offensive rebounds and our turnovers were the difference in the game."

The Pack turned it over 18 times compared to just nine for the Tar Heels. Carolina scored 17 points off State turnovers while the Wolfpack managed just four points off Tar Heel turnovers.

NC State led by as many as five points in the first half as the Pack came out as the aggressors. Meeks said he and the Tar Heels picked up the intensity level in the second half.

UNC coach Roy Williams said he thought his team would come out more fired up, particularly after the Wolfpack held the Tar Heels to just 45 points at home last year - that's the fewest points a Tar Heel team has scored at the Smith Center.

UNC's Marcus Paige, who averages 15 points a game, was just one of nine for three points. But Berry came through with 14 points including three triples. Hicks was the only other Tar Heel in double figures as he scored 10.

Abdul-Malik Abu led the Pack, now 10-8 and 0-5 in the ACC, with 12 points.

The Tar Heels, now 15-2 and 5-0 in the ACC, play at home Wednesday night against Wake Forest.


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