Junior forward Luke Maye scored a career-high 33 points as No. 21 North Carolina overcame a horrid first-half stretch to defeat host North Carolina State 96-89 on Saturday afternoon at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C.
North Carolina topped a neighboring rival for the second time in three days, this time avenging an overtime loss to the Wolfpack from two weeks earlier in Chapel Hill.
Maye, who also grabbed 17 rebounds, scored all except six of his points in the second half.
Joel Berry’s 16 points and Cameron Johnson’s 13 points also boosted the Tar Heels (19-7, 8-5 Atlantic Coast Conference), who were coming off an emotional home victory against No. 9 Duke just 40 hours earlier.
North Carolina shot 78.1 percent from the field in the second half. Kenny Williams had 11 points and Theo Pinson added 10 points, though neither recorded a first-half point.
Torin Dorn’s 21 points and Allerik Freeman’s 17 points paced the Wolfpack.
Markell Johnson and Abdul-Malik Abu both had 12 points, Braxton Beverly had nine of his 11 points in the first half and Omer Yurtseven finished with 10 points for N.C. State (16-9, 6-6), which has lost two games in a row following a three-game winning streak.
The Tar Heels were tormented at times by their 19 turnovers, including a pair in the second half on inbounds plays following N.C. State baskets.
North Carolina burst to a 50-44 lead early in the second half and later led 57-50.
The Tar Heels’ edge was 83-76 with less than four minutes to play.
There was a second half stretch in which the teams combined to score on 13 of 16 possessions.
The Wolfpack was within 85-83 when Williams drained a 3-pointer at the 1:13 mark. The Tar Heels went 4-for-6 on free throws the rest of the way.
The first half had several fluctuations, with N.C. State leading 37-35 at the break.
North Carolina built a 28-18 lead, but N.C. State followed with a 19-0 run. During that stretch North Carolina didn’t call for a timeout, but the Tar Heels missed 13 shots in a row.
The Tar Heels had 11 first-half turnovers after matching a program low with two in the entire game against Duke. North Carolina was 2-for-11 on first-half 3-point attempts.
North Carolina has followed a three-game skid with three victories in an eight-day span.
--Field Level Media