UNC withstands Barber to win big over Pack

The crowd in Raleigh was jumpin’ as NC State’s Cat Barber was jukin’ and jivin’. But the Wolfpack’s first-half 13-point lead over rival North Carolina didn’t hold as the Tar Heels came back to lead at the half and ran away with an 80-68 win. Barber hit his first seven shots and the Pack led 23-10 after eight minutes. But the Tar Heels went on a workmanlike 28-6 run to go up 38-29. UNC’s Justin Jackson scored 12 of his 17 points during the run that included a pair of threes. UNC coach Roy Williams credited the play of Jackson […]

The crowd in Raleigh was jumpin’ as NC State’s Cat Barber was jukin’ and jivin’. But the Wolfpack’s first-half 13-point lead over rival North Carolina didn’t hold as the Tar Heels came back to lead at the half and ran away with an 80-68 win.

Barber hit his first seven shots and the Pack led 23-10 after eight minutes. But the Tar Heels went on a workmanlike 28-6 run to go up 38-29. UNC’s Justin Jackson scored 12 of his 17 points during the run that included a pair of threes.

UNC coach Roy Williams credited the play of Jackson during that stretch for righting the ship. “You never lose a game in the first half but it looked like they were running us out of the building,” he said.

“I was proud of our team, the way we withstood the initial eight or nine minutes,” he added. “It showed we were a veteran club. The guys didn’t go crazy.”

After Barber hit those first seven, three Tar Heels combined to hold him to just two of his next 14.

“I loved our start,” NC State coach Mark Gottfried said. “It was a great start but we didn’t sustain it. … They had too much offensive fire power for our guys.”

Leading 38-33 at the half, the Heels quickly worked the lead up to 10 at 45-35 before the Wolfpack cut it to three on a Caleb Martin three with 13:39 left.

But Carolina went on a 9-0 run over the next two minutes and the Pack never threatened again. The highlight of that stretch was once again Jackson as he drove by Rowan on the left baseline for a nifty up and under basket that drew a foul. After the Jackson free throw and a Brice Johnson follow, the Heels were up 61-48 with 11:30 left.

The lead never got below 10 the rest of the way as the Heels worked the lead up to as many as 19 points before settling for the 12-point win.

The Tar Heels defense settled down in the second half, forcing contested shots and staying in front of Barber.

Johnson had another double-double to lead the Tar Heels as he scored 22 points and hauled in 11 rebounds.

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