Maye fuels second-half rally to avenge loss

North Carolina’s Luke Maye almost single-handedly led the Tar Heels to a come-from-behind 96-89 victory at NC State with 27 of his 33 points in the second half. The Tar Heels, trying to avenge an overtime loss to the Wolfpack at home, raced out to a 10-point lead at 28-18 but NC State came back with a 19-0 run to take a 37-28 lead. Carolina scored the last seven points of the first half to trail by just two and set up Maye’s second half heroics. UNC coach Roy Williams, who didn’t call a timeout during the stretch, said his […]

North Carolina’s Luke Maye almost single-handedly led the Tar Heels to a come-from-behind 96-89 victory at NC State with 27 of his 33 points in the second half.

The Tar Heels, trying to avenge an overtime loss to the Wolfpack at home, raced out to a 10-point lead at 28-18 but NC State came back with a 19-0 run to take a 37-28 lead.

Carolina scored the last seven points of the first half to trail by just two and set up Maye’s second half heroics.

UNC coach Roy Williams, who didn’t call a timeout during the stretch, said his club gave in to a little diversity but he was please the Heels cut it to two at the half.

“I felt pretty good at the half because we hadn’t played very well at all and were just down two,” he said.

The Tar Heels hit seven of their first eight shots of the second half to get out to a 50-44 lead. Maye scored 11 points on five of those shots. A tip by Maye during the run put Carolina up (41-40) for the first time since the eight-minute mark of the first half.

“I came out in the second half aggressive and I was making shots,” Maye said. “I have to come out and play better in the first half.”

Carolina led throughout the rest of the game even though the Pack cut it to two or three several times. Alleric Freeman, who killed the Heels in Chapel Hill, banged in a three to cut the UNC lead to 67-65 with 7:52 left.

But once again Maye took over as he scored the Tar Heels’ next 10 points to create a little breathing room at 77-70.

The Pack didn’t go away however and an old-fashioned three-point dunk and foul play by Abdul-Malik Abu pulled the home team to within two at 85-83 with 1:34 to go.

UNC’s Kenny Williams, who was the hero against Duke but held scoreless in the first half of this one, all but wrapped it up as he side-stepped a defender and swished a three with 1:12 to go to get the cushion back up to five at 88-83.

It never got closer than four the rest of the way as the Tar Heels hit six free throws in the last 37 seconds.

Both teams scored and shot well, with both teams well over 50 percent for the game. But Carolina shot an amazing 78 percent while scoring 61 points in the second half.

All starters for both teams scored in double figures. Torin Dorn led six Pack players in double figures with 21 points.

In addition to Maye’s 33 points and 17 rebounds, Joel Berry added 16, Cam Johnson contributed 13 and Theo Pinson and Kenny Williams each scored 11.

The Tar Heels, who play their third game in five days at home against Notre Dame, improve to 19-7 and 8-5 in the ACC while State falls to 19-9 and 6-6 in the ACC.

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