State strikes, UNC can’t get over hump

N.C. State, behind freshman Shakeel Moore off the bench, struck early against North Carolina building up a big lead that the Tar Heels could never overcome as the Pack held off the Heels 79-76. (12/22) Moore, who had his biggest offensive outburst of the season with 17 points, hit five of six shots in the first half for 13 of those points as the Wolfpack built a 17-point cushion. “Their sense of urgency early in the game was better than ours,” UNC coach Roy Williams said. “When we got close, we took two or three bad shots in a row.” […]

N.C. State, behind freshman Shakeel Moore off the bench, struck early against North Carolina building up a big lead that the Tar Heels could never overcome as the Pack held off the Heels 79-76. (12/22)

Moore, who had his biggest offensive outburst of the season with 17 points, hit five of six shots in the first half for 13 of those points as the Wolfpack built a 17-point cushion.

“Their sense of urgency early in the game was better than ours,” UNC coach Roy Williams said. “When we got close, we took two or three bad shots in a row.”

Carolina went on a 13-3 run late in the first half to get back in the game, trailing by just seven, 49-42, at the half. During the stretch, Coach Williams found a player off the bench to provide some urgency – Walker Kessler.

“Kessler didn’t take a shot and he got us back in the game,” he said. Kessler’s hustle on both ends of the court combined with Andrew Platek drawing two charges changed the tone of the game.

The Heels continued the run in the second half, drawing within two points just five minutes into the second half. Carolina had a couple of chances to tie or take the lead but failed.

With less than nine minutes to play, the Heels drew to within a single pint at 63-62 after a baseline driving basket by Platek, who also hit a free throw for the three-point play.

But N.C. State went on a 14-2 run over the next four minutes, fueled by 11 points from Devon Daniels, who led all scorers with 21 points.

The 77-64 lead seems insurmountable for the Heels but they battled back with suffocating defense as the Pack failed to score a basket in the last five minutes of the game.

But Carolina couldn’t get over the hump, despite drawing to 78-76 with 10 seconds left and having a chance to tie it at the buzzer. Two good-look threes, including an open three from the top of the key from Caleb Love, fell harmless off the rim as State scored a rare win over the Tar Heels.

Coming into the game, Roy Williams coached Tar Heel teams were 15-2 in Raleigh against the Pack. But a hot Wolfpack team, combined with a poor shooting Tar Heel team ultimately was the difference.

State improves to 5-1 overall and 1-0 in conference play while Carolina falls to 5-3 and 0-1 in league play.

The Tar Heels, who were led by Armando Bacot’s 16 points, play at Georgia Tech on Dec. 30.

For a box score and more on the game, please click here.