UNC shot 60 percent for the game and dished out 22 assists to just nine turnovers. NC State actually outrebounded the Tar Heels, 34-33, but misfired on 17 off 22 three-pointers and made just 16 of 24 from the charity stripe. The Pack was led by Julius Hodge (18 points), Tony Bethel (16), Gavin Grant (14) and Cedric Simmons (11 points, three blocked shots), but could not overcome a poor start.
An early 8-0 run staked UNC to a 10-point lead, 12-2, and State barely threatened afterwards. The Pack missed its first seven three-point attempts, but chipped away until the Heels' advantage was just eight, 23-15. However, Grant turned the ball over, leading to a breakaway jam by David Noel that boosted the margin back to 10 points and ignited the Tar Heels crowd. State kept it to 10 for a while, but a 17-6 run by the Heels and a putback by Sean May at the halftime buzzer gave UNC a 19-point lead at intermission, 51-32. The Tar Heels shot 65 percent in the opening 20 minutes, while the Wolfpack went just 3-of-14 from beyond the arc.
After a Bethel three-pointer and a free throw from Hodge, State trailed by just 12, 55-43, in the second half, but UNC reeled off nine straight points to regain control of the contest. Marvin Williams scored a career-best 20 points for the Heels and May added 14 boards.
NC State is just entering a brutal stretch that includes trips to Wake Forest (Feb. 10) and Georgia Tech (Feb. 13), plus home contests vs. Maryland (Feb. 16) and UNC (Feb. 22). The Pack plays next at the RBC Center vs. Virginia on Feb. 5.