Reggie Bullock added 11 points in his first career start for the Tar Heels (17-3, 4-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), who had no trouble winning their 11th straight against their longtime rivals.
While North Carolina State (15-6, 4-2) was off to its best start in the conference league in six years under new coach Mark Gottfried, the Tar Heels ended up making this game look like almost every other in the four years since the Wolfpack last beat them.
With its bigger front line dominating inside, North Carolina shot 48 percent and led by 31 points in the second half.
Scott Wood scored 11 points to lead the Wolfpack, whose only real highlight came when Lorenzo Brown banked in an 80-foot heave to beat the halftime horn.
By that point, however, the Tar Heels led by 14 points and were on the way to turning the entire second half into a crowd-pleasing romp.
N.C. State finished with its worst scoring total of the season and shot 37 percent, though its second-half production came after the game was decided.
It was North Carolina's first game since losing starting guard Dexter Strickland to a season-ending knee injury last week at Virginia Tech. The injury robbed the team of its backup point guard and best perimeter defender, meaning a different look for the Tar Heels by starting Bullock and giving freshman Stilman White more minutes behind point guard Kendall Marshall.
Bullock hit 4 of 9 shots, including 3 of 5 from 3-point range, and finished with five rebounds and three assists. White hit a 3-pointer with about 12 minutes left to send the home crowd into a roar and give North Carolina a 59-32 lead.
Harrison Barnes added 15 points for the Tar Heels, while Marshall had 11 assists.
The Wolfpack entered the game averaging 77 points and shooting 48 percent behind a balanced attack, but things went badly from the start.
Richard Howell picked up three fouls by midway through the first half, while C.J. Leslie had a tough time scoring inside with Zeller and defensive specialist John Henson lurking in the paint. N.C. State struggled to get easy baskets inside, managed only a single basket on the fast break and missed most of its jumpers.
The Tar Heels had no such trouble. Zeller had a double-double by halftime with 13 points on 6-for-7 shooting and 12 rebounds. Barnes added nine points as the Tar Heels made 12 of 17 shots in the paint.