Heels Get Payback, 83-64

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- No. 5 North Carolina pulled away from NC State in the second half to notch a crucial late-season victory and take over sole possession of first place in the ACC. Brandan Wright scored a season-high 24 points and Tyler Hansbrough added 20 as the Tar Heels avenged their earlier loss by cruising past the Wolfpack, 83-64, Wednesday at the Smith Center.

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  • Box Score
  • Roy Williams Quotes (w/audio)
  • Monte Towe Quotes (w/audio)
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  • Hansbrough and Wright have each scored 20 or more points on a combined 16 occasions this season, but this was only the second time they accomplished the feat in the same game.

    UNC (24-4, 10-3 ACC) has now won seven of the last eight meetings in the in-state rivalry.

    After both teams shared identical rebounding numbers in the first half, the Tar Heels established their dominance inside to finish with a 41-23 edge on the glass, including a 16-5 advantage on the offensive boards.

    "Over there, their big guys had a field day, but tonight we rebounded the ball much, much better," Roy Williams said.

    "Rebounding was a big key for us coming in," added Hansbrough, who had seven boards. "We did not let them come out and be the aggressor, and I think we turned things around tonight."

    Five UNC players finished with five or more rebounds led by eight from Danny Green, as the Tar Heels scored 22 points on second chance opportunities. His rebounds and three blocked shots tied career highs for Green, who was also 2-for-3 from beyond the arc after missing his previous nine attempts.

    "I think we played a lot better than last time, I think we were a little bit more focused, and that's why the game was a little different for us," said Green, referencing State's 83-79 upset of Carolina less than three weeks before.

    Led by 16 first half points by Engin Atsur, State (14-12, 4-9) hung with the Tar Heels, trailing just 41-40 at intermission. But after Brandon Costner nailed a three to tie the score at 45 apiece with 16:46 to play, UNC began to steadily increase its lead – at one time holding the Wolfpack without a field goal for nearly five minutes.

    "We had a great run there in the second half," Williams said. "In the first half, Engin Atsur was incredible. In the second half, he wasn't able to dribble off the screen and shoot the ball as easily."

    Atsur was held scoreless in the final 20 minutes, as Carolina closed out the game on an 11-3 run.

    "Carolina's defense took its toll on us, and they hurt us a lot inside – particularly in the second half," said State assistant Monte Towe, who took over the coaching reigns in the second half for an ailing Sidney Lowe. "With Coach Lowe not there in the second half, that hurt us and we didn't play well – but credit North Carolina for that."

    At halftime, Lowe was examined by a team physician and determined to be suffering from dehydration. He was taken to UNC Hospitals to receive fluids and for further evaluation. According to a statement released by NC State, Lowe had been suffering from flu-like symptoms for a couple of days.

    The Tar Heels return to action Sunday at Maryland (21-7, 7-6) – 73-55 winners Wednesday night over Florida State.

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