No. 10 North Carolina blows by N.C. State

By The Sports Xchange

RALEIGH, N.C. -- North Carolina went to a familiar formula by showcasing its inside strength, and that was too much for North Carolina State.

Joel Berry scored 18 points as No. 10 North Carolina pounded rival N.C. State for the second time this season, winning 97-73 on Wednesday night at sold-out PNC Arena.


The Tar Heels racked up a 60-22 edge in points in the lane.

"Being able to get the ball inside and to rebound the way we did was the biggest factor," Tar Heels coach Roy Williams said.

The Tar Heels, who have been one of the country's top rebounding teams, finished with a 41-25 rebounding advantage.

"They just beat us on the backboards," N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said. "We tried to take some things away from them, but their rebounding was too much."


Kennedy Meeks had 17 points, Justin Jackson added 14 points, sophomore Luke Maye racked up a career-high 13 points and Theo Pinson supplied 12 for first-place North Carolina (22-5, 10-3 Atlantic Coast Conference).

Williams is 32-3 all-time against the Wolfpack, including 27-3 while with the Tar Heels.

Berry shot 4 for 8 on 3-point attempts as the Tar Heels won in their first outing since last week's loss at Duke. Despite the perimeter scoring, North Carolina did a large portion of its damage in the lane.

Dennis Smith Jr. scored 27 points, Maverick Rowan added 12 points and Abdul-Malik Abu had 10 points for N.C. State (14-13, 3-11), which lost its sixth game in a row.

"I feel for them because they're going through some tough times right now, but my job is to win," Williams said.

Smith had only 11 points in 26 foul-plagued minutes in last month's 51-point loss at North Carolina.

This time, the Tar Heels scored on three of their first four possessions of the second half and weren't seriously challenged.

"They had an answer for everything we did," Gottfried said. "They're an experienced team, and they played like it."


North Carolina again threatened to make it an early blowout and led 51-37 at halftime, with Berry and Jackson hitting 3-pointers on the Tar Heels' last two possessions before the break.

"We got off to a good start," Williams said. "We played well early and took the crowd out of it. I think that little run before the half was good for us."

The Wolfpack lacked efficiency needed to keep up.

"We have to have a little bit more patience," Gottfried said. "We didn't have as many driving lanes (as we wanted), and we had a hard time getting second-chance points."

N.C. State trimmed a 27-10 deficit to 37-31. Smith had 11 consecutive Wolfpack points during one stretch in the first half.

North Carolina led 17-7 six minutes into the game. The Wolfpack outscored North Carolina 11-3 on first-half free throws.

North Carolina senior forward Isaiah Hicks, who missed last week's game against Duke with a hamstring injury, was in the starting lineup and scored on the game's first possession. He had five points and two fouls in the first four minutes, and his third foul came with 9:44 left in the half.


Hicks finished with seven points.

"I would have liked to have Isaiah in the game more, but Luke did some good things," Williams said.


-- North Carolina G Kenny Williams sat out with an injured right knee after starting in the previous 18 games, and he will have surgery next week, likely missing the rest of the season. G Theo Pinson made his first start of the season.

-- N.C. State G Torin Dorn was in the starting lineup for the first time in 11 games. He scored five points.

-- The game marked the 500th for North Carolina with Roy Williams as the head coach. He is 387-113.

-- N.C. State is 2-5 in ACC home games this season.

-- G Dennis Smith Jr. has led the Wolfpack in scoring in nine of 14 ACC games.

-- North Carolina beat the Wolfpack 107-56 on Jan. 8 in Chapel Hill.

-- Both teams are home Saturday against nationally ranked teams, with N.C. State facing No. 25 Notre Dame and North Carolina clashing with No. 14 Virginia.

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