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UNC-NC State men’s basketball: Tar Heels beat Wolfpack, score

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UNC-NC State men’s basketball: Tar Heels beat Wolfpack, score
It was an intense game of hoops. It was a very physical game at times. Every pass appeared difficult, and every basket required effort.

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North Carolina and N.C. State squared off on Wednesday night, with the No. 7 Tar Heels emerging victorious at PNC Arena, 67-54, thanks to a dominant second half performance.

The ACC record for both teams was 3-0. They both desired to win the competition at the conclusion of the evening and leave their opponents defeated.

It might have been a closer game if the Wolfpack (11-4 overall) had shot the ball more skillfully and avoided forcing as many shots. However, it shot 26.9% from the field during the game and missed 19 of its 21 3-point attempts.

The Pack’s top scorer so far this season, D.J. Horne, had a terrible evening. He was only able to score six points on two of sixteen shots and three of his three-point attempts.

D.J. Burns scored 11 points and Casey Morsell scored 12 for the Pack, who take on Louisville on Saturday.

The Tar Heels (12-3) completed all the necessary tasks to prevail. R.J. Davis scored 16 points for UNC, which is ranked in the top 16 nationally for both offensive and defensive efficiency. UNC also prevented the Pack from going on long offensive runs or converting easy baskets in transition, as they had 18 fast-break points to State’s 8.

Harrison Ingram, the transfer from Stanford, was a key player for the Heels, grabbing 19 rebounds with his agility around the hoop as UNC finished with a 49-42 rebounding advantage. In the lengthy history of the series, it was the most rebounds a player from Carolina has ever had.

The Pack used a variety of players to contain Davis, the ACC’s top scorer, to just five points at the half, and Armando Bacot was only allowed to play for ten minutes after committing his second personal foul on a technical foul, giving the Heels a 30-28 advantage at the break.

Three lessons learned from the match:

There’s no denying that the game wasn’t quite as physical the previous time the Pack and Heels played, losing 3-0 in the ACC around 50 years ago. Not even near.

This was no delicate game. This was a game of elbows finding flesh, bodies colliding against bodies.

In the first half, UNC’s Bacot was called for a technical foul after sending Ben Middlebrooks sprawling to the floor with a forearm to the side. The worst part was that both players lagged behind the action as the Heels attempted to run during the break.

Bacot was also limited to just 10 minutes in the first half due to his second personal foul, which cost him the remainder of the game. and getting a hard time from his coach for coming to the bench when Hubert Davis was playing well.

It became clear early on that neither team would back down from contact and would test the whistles, so referees John Gaffney, Pat Driscoll, and Roger Ayers had their work cut out for them this evening.

There were occasions when Bacot and the Burns of the Pack fought within. Bacot would beat Burns on his back with both arms as he attempted to back in with the ball. Bacot managed to escape with a couple blows to the back as Burns made a few shots.

State made 15 free throws in the first half compared to UNC’s meager two. Many of those free throws were made by the Pack as players attempted to drive to the hoop and go one-on-one. There were a few fouls called and turnovers throughout a few possessions.

The Tar Heels’ more composed performance was probably influenced by their experience playing at Clemson the previous Saturday.

For the Tigers, that game meant a lot. That was also a violent altercation. The Littlejohn Coliseum home crowd was itching for a surprise victory.

The Heels prevailed by a score of ten. The Heels defeated Pittsburgh by a score of 13 in the previous game. Although traveling in the ACC can be difficult, UNC’s excursions to Pitt and Clemson equipped them for Wednesday’s game and the boisterous, early-arriving crowd at PNC Arena.

With its strong bench, the Pack lacked an advantage as well. In the first half, Davis deployed ten players, and many of them made contributions.

The Pack’s Horne estimated that, in order to gauge the potential environment on Wednesday, he viewed a replay of the 77-69 Pack victory from last year’s game at PNC Arena roughly ten times.

The replay of this one won’t be something Horne and the Pack will want to watch. An excessive number of poor shots. Too many mishandled plays.

There was an effort made. There was a fight. However, the effectiveness wasn’t.

Coaches stress 50/50 skirmishes, which the Heels won several of. They made contact with the attacking boards. They had enough shots to qualify.

Elliot Cadeau, a rookie guard, would cut in during a drive for a score or identify the open player. All on the boards was Ingram. Seth Trimble provided UNC with valuable minutes. With six minutes remaining in the second half, Bacot’s dunk gave UNC a 61-48 advantage.

In the second half, the Pack made an attempt to match the Heels’ teamwork but were unable. Too frequently, it was Horne missing a three, Burns attempting to exert pressure, or Taylor making an attempt but failing to produce results.

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