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Off the cuff: Watching Carolina basketball ain't what it used to be. Two of the Tar Heels better games have come in games where they turned the ball over 23 times. How can that be?

"We play at a fast pace and they do too," Coach Williams said after his team's 90-82 win over N.C. State. "But you can't have that many turnovers."

Evidently in today's game of college basketball, you can.

The Tar Heels shot pretty well (45 percent) and they hit their free throws (22 of 26) and they rebounded exceptionally well (51 to 33).

With the wild pace, Carolina is going to turn the ball over. Senior leader Luke Maye turned it over seven times.

I suppose they can survive such careless, frenetic errors against good teams because they've done it against Gonzaga and State, two really good teams.

But eventually, if they don't shoot well or they miss free throws or they get outrebounded, they are going to lose some games. I hope it's not one that will end an ACC or NCAA tournament run.

Perhaps by then, they'll have a more controlled wildness on the court.

Garrison Brooks, who Coach Williams called perhaps his player of the game, had no turnovers, five assists, seven rebounds and was five of five from the charity stripe.

Brooks said the Tar Heels "settled down a bit" in the second half and survived State's runs, most of which were fueled by pressure defense.

"We pride ourselves on rebounding," Brooks said. "And I think it won us the game."

Tar Heels 90, N.C. State 82
Carolina survives adversity to top State

North Carolina had some adversity against N.C. State but managed to survive 23 turnovers, some foul trouble and much of the second half without a key starter to defeat N.C. State 90-82 in Raleigh. (1/8)

Cam Johnson scored the Tar Heels' first nine points of the second half to keep the Heels ahead but then he cramped up and didn't play the rest of the game.

Reserves Brandon Robinson and Leaky Black shared the position the rest of the game and made big plays to keep the Wolfpack at bay.

The Wolfpack did tie the game at 53 with just under 17 minutes to play on a three by C.J. Bryce and cut a Carolina lead to one at 70-69 midway through the second half.

Robinson drained a three from the left corner to start an 8-0 run that gave Carolina a nine-point advantage. Later, Black popped in a jumper from the free throw line to start a 9-0 run that put the Heels in command by 10 at 79-69.

Black got loose for a dunk in the last minute after State had cut the margin to four to all but wrap it up.

"Our guys answered every challenge," UNC coach Roy Williams said. "Every time they'd make a run, we'd answer it."

When you look at the final differential, an argument can be made that the Tar Heels won the game in the first three plus minutes of the game as they raced out to a 12-0 lead. The Heels got the lead to 14 before going into the halftime locker room up just 47-42.

"I'm proud of the way my team fought when you think of how we started the game," Wolfpack coach Kevin Keats said. "I told the guys that when you score 82 points, that should be enough to win a game. But we got beat on 50-50 balls and they outrebounded us."

They certainly did. Carolina held a commanding 51-33 edge on the boards with Johnson, Luke Maye and Kenny Williams combining for 32 of them.

"In some ways it was one of our better defensive games," Williams said. "We rebounded the heck out of it."

Five Tar Heels scored in double figures with Maye's 21 and Coby White's 19 leading the way. Johnson and Kenny Williams added 15 each while Garrison Brooks chipped in 11.

Braxton Beverly came off the bench for a career-high 21 points to lead the Pack.

North Carolina falls to 12-4 and 2-1 in the ACC while Louisville, coming off a disappointing loss at home to Pitt, moves to 11-5 overall and 2-1 in the league.

The Tar Heels host Louisville Saturday at noon.

Box score

UNC's Kenny Williams, who had 15 points and 10 rebounds, drives to the hoop. (UNC Sports Information)

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