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Off the cuff: Maybe the annual UNC-NC State games aren't as highly regarded as the UNC-Duke games, especially nationally, but evidently Luke Maye, who grew up in North Carolina considers it a big rivalry and said he wanted "bragging rights."

Maye came out in the second half on fire, scoring 27 of his game-high 33 points.

Maye said he was more aggressive. UNC coach Roy Williams, who certainly considers State a big rivalry, agreed. "Luke was taking the ball to the basket in the second half," he said. "He hit a couple of threes but he was really successful taking it to the basket."

One of the threes was a contested triple from way out with 10 seconds still left on the shot clock. It surprised everybody, including Coach Williams who approved only after it went in. It was a big one as it took a four-point lead late up to seven points.

Joel Berry, who grew up in Florida, turned heads when he said he didn't consider NC State a rival like he does Duke. He performed well against State as well, scoring 16 points even with Markell Johnson jawing in his face early in the game.

Emotions never got out of hand on the court but evidently someone said or did something to UNC's Brandon Robinson who fell into the hostile crowd during one particular play. Robinson was irate and security went over to talk to someone. The person wasn't escorted out and that seemed to irritate the Carolina bench.

The two teams split games in the regular season, jawed at each other and had a dust up involving fans. Sounds like a rivalry to me.

Those who attended Carolina in the 1970s no doubt considers NC State the chief rival. I well remember kids saying, "Duke is Puke, Wake is Fake but the one I hate is NC State."

But with the stability at UNC and Duke, along with the consistently high-calibre games, combined with the national attention, the Duke rivalry is now king.

The loser of the UNC-State game though has to deal with more fans locally as Duke's biggest fan base seems to be out of state.

Now Carolina has a chance to win three games in five days for the first time since 1980 when the Tar Heels host Notre Dame Monday night.

Tar Heels 96, NC State 89
Maye fuels second-half rally for revenge

North Carolina's Luke Maye almost single-handedly led the Tar Heels to a come-from-behind 96-89 victory at NC State with 27 of his 33 points in the second half. (2/10)

The Tar Heels, trying to avenge an overtime loss to the Wolfpack at home, raced out to a 10-point lead at 28-18 but NC State came back with a 19-0 run to take a 37-28 lead.

Carolina scored the last seven points of the first half to trail by just two and set up Maye's second half heroics.

UNC coach Roy Williams, who didn't call a timeout during the stretch, said his club gave in to a little diversity but he was please the Heels cut it to two at the half.

"I felt pretty good at the half because we hadn't played very well at all and were just down two," he said.

The Tar Heels hit seven of their first eight shots of the second half to get out to a 50-44 lead. Maye scored 11 points on five of those shots. A tip by Maye during the run put Carolina up (41-40) for the first time since the eight-minute mark of the first half.

"I came out in the second half aggressive and I was making shots," Maye said. "I have to come out and play better in the first half."

Carolina led throughout the rest of the game even though the Pack cut it to two or three several times. Alleric Freeman, who killed the Heels in Chapel Hill, banged in a three to cut the UNC lead to 67-65 with 7:52 left.

But once again Maye took over as he scored the Tar Heels' next 10 points to create a little breathing room at 77-70.

The Pack didn't go away however and an old-fashioned three-point dunk and foul play by Abdul-Malik Abu pulled the home team to within two at 85-83 with 1:34 to go.

UNC's Kenny Williams, who was the hero against Duke but held scoreless in the first half of this one, all but wrapped it up as he side-stepped a defender and swished a three with 1:12 to go to get the cushion back up to five at 88-83.

It never got closer than four the rest of the way as the Tar Heels hit six free throws in the last 37 seconds.

Both teams scored and shot well, with both teams well over 50 percent for the game. But Carolina shot an amazing 78 percent while scoring 61 points in the second half.

All starters for both teams scored in double figures. Torin Dorn led six Pack players in double figures with 21 points.

In addition to Maye's 33 points and 17 rebounds, Joel Berry added 16, Cam Johnson contributed 13 and Theo Pinson and Kenny Williams each scored 11.

The Tar Heels, who play their third game in five days at home against Notre Dame, improve to 19-7 and 8-5 in the ACC while State falls to 19-9 and 6-6 in the ACC.

Box Score

Maye drives.
(UNC Sports Information Photo)

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