Freshman guard Lorenzo Brown once again stuffed the stat sheet for the Wolfpack.
He may not have been the scorer most thought he would be coming into the season, but Brown has developed into NC State's most reliable playmaker.
He finished the game with 11 points on 5-of-11 shooting from the field but added a game-high eight assists, a game-high three steals, and five rebounds in 34 minutes of action.
The next step Brown has to take is to be even more aggressive offensively but also continue to develop his perimeter jumper.
PLAYER OF THE GAME - NORTH CAROLINA
Sophomore forward John Henson was a difference maker for the Tar Heels and the biggest reason North Carolina won the battle in the paint.
Henson's 15 rebounds were impressive, especially the 11 on the defensive end. His six blocks were two more than State's entire team totaled. He was a presence on both ends and had his best game of the season.
Henson finished with eight points (3-7 FG, 2-2 FT), 15 rebounds, six blocks, and two turnovers in 33 minutes of action.
STAT OF THE GAME
+14. North Carolina held a 20-6 advantage in second-chance points, with the Tar Heels grabbing a staggering 19 offensive rebounds. The Heels would outrebound State by 14, and it was really noticeable on the offensive end.
With the Pack shooting just 43% from the field, they needed to produce more second-chance points than they were capable of, and credit goes to North Carolina for keeping them off the glass while boarding and converting their own misses themselves.
North Carolina had eight second-chance points in the final seven minutes to close out the game, including three putback dunks by Harrison Barnes and Tyler Zeller.
PLAY OF THE GAME
In a game of runs it is easy to pick a bunch of different plays which could have ultimately impacted the outcome, but one sequence of events sticks out.
State trailed 64-59 with under three minutes remaining after C.J. Leslie knocked down a 3-pointer coming out of a timeout. North Carolina had the ball when Ryan Harrow forced a turnover by Kendall Marshall and had the ball leading the break. State had a 3-on-2 break when Harrow tried to pass the ball to the middle of the floor to Leslie, but his pass was stolen back by Marshall.
NC State had a chance right there to convert an easy transition basket which would have brought the game back to a one-possession contest and had the crowd back as a major factor.
However, they turned it over and North Carolina took full advantage. The Heels took a timeout after the steal, and coming out of the timeout freshman Harrison Barnes busted open behind the 3-point line and knocked down 3-pointer with under ten seconds left on the shotclock at the 1:56 mark.
NC State went from having a chance to cut the lead to two or three points to being down eight in a possession.
NC State (14-13, 4-9 ACC) must try and find some confidence with Georgia Tech coming to the RBC Center on Saturday.
The Yellow Jackets are also struggling, having lost 62-56 to Virginia last night at home. Tech is 11-16 overall and 3-10 in the ACC.
Georgia Tech is led by star point guard Iman Shumpert and wing Glen Rice Jr. The duo leads the Yellow Jackets in virtually every statistical category. Shumpert is averaging 17.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 2.5 steals while Rice is averaging 13.5 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.6 steals.
Tip-off for NC State and Georgia Tech is set for 2:00 on Saturday in Raleigh. The game will be televised on the ACC Network.
NC State received great minutes off the bench from sophomore center Jordan Vandenberg. Standing 7-foot-1, Vandenberg scored four points, grabbed three rebounds, and blocked three shots in 15 minutes of action.
"I thought Jordan played a great, both defensively and on the glass," said Sidney Lowe. "He got fouls and was being physical. He did exactly what we wanted our guys to do — he got rebounds and a couple of dunks. I thought he played great."