It didn't take long for the Tar Heels to assert their dominance, going on a 32-4 run over the last 15 minutes of the first half to open up a 30-point advantage. The Pack managed to hold that margin steady for the remainder of the game, walking out of the Dean Dome with a 93-62 loss and plenty of questions after one game of ACC play.
"Today was definitely a bad day," Lowe said.
The Pack (11-4, 0-1 ACC) actually got off to a respectable start before completely falling apart as the Heels (17-0, 2-0) got rolling. For the first five minutes, State went found success by going inside to J.J. Hickson and Ben McCauley. At one point the game was a 9-9 tie, then the Pack collapsed.
State's offense suddenly became unable to create good shots, as drives to the basket were met by a swarm of Tar Heel defenders and jumpers clanked off the rim and into waiting hands of the team in blue. The Pack shot 17 percent in the first half, went 0-for-6 from behind the arc, was out-rebounded by a 31-to-17 margin and didn't score a point for a nine-minute stretch in the half.
"The last 15 minutes of the first half we started to play a little one-on-one," Lowe said. "At times when we were shooting we were shooting over two or three people."
The defense was just as atrocious, allowing Carolina easy lay-ups and failing to grab defensive rebonds when the Heels did miss, giving up second-chance points. Despite shooting just 43 percent in the half, the Heels still managed to take a 43-13 lead into the locker room. Lowe, however, tried to remain positive in his half time message to the team.
"I thought that we just made some poor decisions," Lowe said. "There is no need for me to come in there yelling."
Things got a little better for the Pack in the second half, as the offense found a little rhythm to keep the Heels from pulling even further out in front. Courtney Fells, who finished with a team-high 16, scored a couple of quick baskets to cut into the lead a little but for every Pack make the Heels had an answer. Hickson was the only other Wolfpack player in double-digits, finishing with 14 points.
"This is what its going to be like – this is it," Lowe said. "This is how the conference is going to be played. This is the type of the environment we are going to have to play in."
The Pack gets another chance to redeem itself on the road this week, traveling to Clemson on Tuesday as it tries to pick up its first ACC win of the season.