No. 18 Wolfpack Soars Over UNC, 91-83
Jan. 26, 2013
RALEIGH, N.C. - From the outset Saturday night, No. 18 NC State opened up a big lead against unranked North Carolina at PNC Arena and surged to a 91-83 victory in front of a sold-out crowd.
Head coach Mark Gottfried told his team before the game to "attack, attack, attack," and the Pack did just that to break a 13-game losing streak to the Tar Heels and to beat both UNC and Duke in the same season for the first time since 2002.
"It's a significant win for us," Gottfried said. "To get where you want to be as a program, you have to take certain steps to get there. This was a big one for us."
Gottfried's team (16-4 overall, 5-2 ACC) doubled the score in the first half, 40-20, and led by as many as 28 in the second half.
"I was really proud of the way we came out defensively in the first half and the way we were going after loose balls and doing what we needed to do," Gottfried said. "I told the team at half time that if anyone took their foot off the pedal, they were coming out of the game."
The Tar Heels (13-6, 3-3) drew as close as five points, 85-80, in the waning moments, but the outcome was scarcely in doubt, as Gottfried picked up his first career win over the Heels and the Wolfpack extended its home record to 12-0 this season.
The sell-out crowd, buzzing since early Saturday morning for ESPN's College GameDay show at PNC Arena, was at full blast on Saturday night.
"I've coached a lot of games and went to a lot of places while I was a broadcaster and I don't think I have ever seen a crowd as energized as the one we had tonight," Gottfried said. "It was an incredible atmosphere."
It was the Pack's most points in the century-old series since Feb. 4, 2002, when the Pack topped UNC 98-76 in the second contest of a four-game winning streak over the Heels.
Three Wolfpack players posted double-doubles in the contest, as junior Lorenzo Brown had 20 points and 11 assists, senior Richard Howell had 16 points and 14 rebounds and junior C.J. Leslie had 17 points and 10 rebounds.
North Carolina, led by sophomore P.J. Hairston's 19 points, had four players in double figures.
For Howell, it was his 12th double-double of the season and his seventh straight ACC contest with double-figure rebounds.
While the Pack rolled early in the contest, North Carolina fought back with a string of 3-pointers, steadily cutting the Pack's lead down to single digits with five minutes to play.
But Warren and Leslie scored layups, and Gottfried called a 30-second timeout to talk about how to finish the game. Coming out of the break, Wood was fouled while making a 3-pointer
He converted the four-point play with 4:28 to play, pushing the Pack's lead back to 15 points.
"When that ball was in the air, before they had even called the foul, I thought to myself: `Game-winner,'" Gottfried said. "I knew Carolina would make a run at some point in the second half, and they did a good job of cutting the lead down to five points, but that was a huge shot for us."
In the first half, the Wolfpack went up 42-20 on Warren's steal and dunk. The Pack took a 45-26 lead into intermission, with Brown leading all scorers with 12 points in the opening half.
The Wolfpack outscored the Tar Heels 20-0 on fast-break points before intermission and finished with a 39-19 advantage in the game. The Pack also had a 42-32 overall rebounding advantage.
Howell had six rebounds in the game's first seven minutes, as the Wolfpack took control of the lane shortly after UNC's James Michael McAdoo picked up his second foul just two minutes into the game.
The Pack hits the road again on Tuesday, Jan. 29, when it travels to face Virginia in Charlottesville, Va., before returning home next Saturday afternoon, Feb. 2, to host Miami in a 4 p.m. nationally televised contest on CBS.