HEELS SMACK PACK
North Carolina didn’t waste any time continuing its dominance over N.C. State at the Smith Center under Roy Williams.
Eight minutes into the game, the Wolfpack had as many made field goals as 35-second violations (two) and trailed 16-4. N.C. State never got closer than nine the rest of the way as UNC won 84-70 to improve to 11-0 at home against the Wolfpack (and 21-2 overall) with Williams at the helm.
Senior Leslie McDonald (20 points) led the Tar Heels (14-7, 4-4 ACC) in scoring for the first time this season and junior James Michael McAdoo had 16 points to go with 13 rebounds — one off his career high.
Durham native T.J. Warren had 21 points for the Wolfpack (14-8, 4-5), but forwards J.P. Tokoto and James Michael McAdoo held the ACC’s leading scorer to just eight points until there were nine minutes left and the outcome was all but decided.
N.C. State missed 10 of its first 11 from the field and shot 25 percent in the first half as UNC went into the break with a 40-23 lead.
“At one point I leaned over to the staff and said, ‘The only people shooting worse than we are is them,’” Williams said.
Six different Tar Heels had blocks in the first half, and while Warren was 4 of 8, his teammates shot 6 of 32 (18.8 percent).
McAdoo keyed the quick start with his aggressiveness. The junior, who had 14 free throw attempts, got to the line three times in the first 2:16.
“We feed off James Michael’s energy,” Paige said. “That huge start set the tone for us.”
UNC also pushed the pace and created points in transition, a critical factor for a team that has bogged down in the half-court offense.
“It’s very important,” Paige said. “We’re not the most gifted offense team — we don’t have a Harrison Barnes we can just throw it to on the wing and say ‘Get us a basket,’ or a Tyler Zeller in the post — so to get the tempo in our favor helps out our offense.”
The Tar Heels also had a 52-36 rebounding edge led by McAdoo and Kennedy Meeks, who had 10 boards for the second straight game. Still, the deficit could have been worse if UNC had converted around the rim — the Tar Heels shot 17 of 45 (37.8 percent) in the paint.
“First half, I was very frustrated because we didn’t finish plays at the basket,” Williams said. “Second half, we didn’t finish plays at the basket and we didn’t guard them, either.”
N.C. State shot 65.4 percent after halftime, but UNC made 15 of 17 free throws and dominated on the boards to stay comfortably ahead. The Tar Heels led by as many as 22 at three different points.
“Sometimes when you have a young team maybe they drop their heads a little bit and start to get unsure, so it just kind of steamrolled there in the first half,” N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said. “I did like the fact that we came out to start the half and had great competitive spirit. Like I said, though, you’re in too big of a hole at that point to overcome it.”
By beating the Wolfpack by double-figures for the 16th time in 23 games in the series under Williams, UNC won for the third time in seven days to get up to .500 in the ACC.
“I told them that this week, I think we’re really close to really becoming a good basketball team,” Williams said. “But we’ve to take some more steps and got to maintain that intensity level for a longer period of time. But I do think it says a great deal about the character of the kids that we have that they didn’t get down when it was 0-3 and 1-4, they didn’t start pointing fingers at anybody else, they accepted the coaching that we were trying to do, and they are getting better.”
|NORTH CAROLINA 84, NC STATE 70|
Percentages: FG .409, FT .538.
3-Point Goals: 2-10, .200 (Turner 1-3, Warren 1-3, Lee 0-1, Barber 0-1, Lewis 0-2).
Team Rebounds: 4.
Blocked Shots: 6 (Warren 2, Washington 2, Anya, Freeman).
Turnovers: 12 (Lee 3, Warren 2, Barber 2, Freeman, Washington, Turner).
Steals: 8 (Warren 3, Lee 2, Barber, Turner, Lewis).
Technical Fouls: None.
Percentages: FG .406, FT .758.
3-Point Goals: 3-12, .250 (McDonald 2-7, Tokoto 1-1, Paige 0-4).
Team Rebounds: 4.
Blocked Shots: 6 (Hubert, McAdoo, Britt, Paige, Johnson, James).
Turnovers: 13 (McAdoo 4, Paige 3, Tokoto 2, Britt 2, Meeks, McDonald).
Steals: 6 (Tokoto 3, Paige 2, Britt).
Technical Fouls: None.
Officials_Brian Kersey, Joe Lindsay, Raymond Styons.