CHAPEL HILL – The UNC men’s basketball team downed N.C. State 84-70 Saturday afternoon in Chapel Hill to even its ACC record at 4-4 and record a third straight victory with a determined defensive effort that stymied N.C. State star T.J. Warren for most of the contest.
***Listen to the story***
MBB NCSU Final WRAP MDO
With the win, UNC Head Coach Roy Williams preserved his perfect record, at 11-0, against N.C. State in the Dean Smith Center. With the loss, the Wolfpack fell to 14-8 overall and 4-5 in conference play.
The Tar Heels set an aggressive tone early with James Michael McAdoo’s physical play inside. And the defensive intensity was ratcheted up by Carolina. The Tar Heels were challenging every shot and recorded 6 blocks.
Carolina’s trips to the free throw line piled up, making more foul shots than N.C. State even attempted, telling the story of their aggressive brand of basketball, taking it to the youthful Wolfpack.
After the game, Coach Williams said he was pleased with the improved foul shooting of his team.
“We were more aggressive and got to the line, and except for James Michael [McAdoo] everybody shot them really, really well,” Coach Williams said.
***Listen to Roy Williams’ postgame press conference***
Leslie McDonald led the way for the Tar Heels with 20 points while N.C. State’s Warren tallied a team-leading 21 points. McAdoo tallied 16 points on the day to provide a balanced attack for Carolina. The Tar Heels shocked the visiting Wolfpack early in the game, jumping out to a quick 18-4 lead and never looked back from there.
“Well, I think it does say something about the kind of kids that we have, no matter if we’re 0-3 or 1-4. Our kids stuck with it and tried to do what we asked them to do every day in practice, they’ve worked hard, and I really believe that we’re getting better as a team,” Coach Williams said.
McAdoo won the opening tipoff for the Tar Heels and wasted no time making his intentions clear. He drove it right inside to pick up a foul.
Warren got to the line on the other end of the floor, but he missed both, showing some early nerves. Meeks netted a pretty fall-away jumper to stake Carolina out to an early 3-0 lead.
Paige came up with an emphatic block that Leslie McDonald turned into points on the other end. The Tar Heels had come to play with the 6-0 advantage.
N.C. State got on the scoreboard on the following possession. But it was the home team with the 7-2 lead with 17:20 to play in the first half.
McDonald threw up an air ball to deflate a little bit of energy out of the jovial Smith Center crowd, and a timeout was called with 15:53 remaining in the first half. The Tar Heels were up 7-2 on the Wolfpack.
After the break, a shot clock violation was enforced on N.C. State thanks in large part to a ferocious block by McAdoo.
Paige drilled in a two-point basket to increase the Tar Heel advantage out to 9-2. And then Paige was fouled on a three-point attempt. He converted on all three of them.
Warren responded with a clean-up score on the other end to close the gap to eight points, but a Tokoto make extended the lead out to 14-4 with 13:15 to play in the half.
Tokoto and Nate Britt tag-teamed a fast break opportunity and Tokoto finished. Carolina had the 18-4 advantage.
Meeks drained a fade away shot yet again to match an easy layup for the Wolfpack. UNC led 20-6 with 11:09 to go in the opening half.
N.C. State’s Cat Barber provided a spike in intensity back to the floor for his team, and he ran the length of the floor for an easy layup to cut the deficit down to ten with 9:10 to play in the first half.
The zone defensive adjustment was stymying the Carolina attack, but McAdoo broke through with a make and opened the floodgates once again. The Tar Heels held the 25-14 advantage with 6:34 on the first half clock.
With 4:54 on the clock, Brice Johnson muscled his shot in the hoop, but Warren scored for N.C. State. The scoreboard read 30-16 in favor of the home Tar Heels with 3:45 to go in the opening half.
Lennard Freeman did some nice work in the paint to close the gap down to 13 points. Paige answered immediately with a score to extend the margin back out to 15.
Tokoto’s impressive performance continued as he swished a shot from behind the arc t hand UNC the 38-21 advantage.
At the half, Carolina was out to a dominant 40-23 lead. UNC was shooting at a 42.4 percent clip as a team while N.C. State was shooting a mere 25 percent from the floor at the halfway point.
Paige was leading the Tar Heels in scoring with 11 points. Warren led the way for the Wolfpack with eight points.
McAdoo slammed one home to give UNC the 47-27 second half lead with under 18 minutes to play in the contest.
Barber nailed down a timely bucket to get the Wolfpack within 16 points at 49-33 with 15:35 remaining in the game.
Meeks responded by battling in the paint, eventually picking up the foul. The freshman made both.
Desmond Lee found a lane to the rim and took it, decreasing the Tar Heel advantage down to 53-37 with 13:27 to play.
Johnson responded with a beautiful jumper to hold off the Wolfpack momentum at the moment.
The momentum was definitely beginning to turn in favor of the visiting N.C. State squad. The Wolfpack were playing much more aggressively and simplifying the game plan to attack the basket.
Britt ran the floor and slid the ball through the nets to halt the N.C. State charge. McDonald followed his lead with a make that caused Wolfpack Head Coach Mark Gottfried to call timeout with 10:20 left on the clock. Tar Heels maintained a 59-42 advantage.
McAdoo and Johnson stepped up to provide more spark for the Carolina attack. The Tar Heel faithful rose to their feet.
It was all one-way traffic with under eight minutes to play. McDonald’s confidence in his shot was growing as he knocked down another deep try. Carolina held the 68-46 lead.
Lee was handling the bulk of the load for the Wolfpack, trying to keep N.C. State in the contest, but the physicality of Carolina was noticeable as McAdoo earned another trip to the line.
Warren started to sink all his shots at the close of the game, but it was a case of too little too late for N.C. State.
It was UNC that walked out of the game with a coveted victory to sink its teeth back into the ACC and NCAA race.
Click here for game photo gallery.