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January 26, 2013Coming into the game, it was imperative that UNC understood the kind of atmosphere they would be facing in a rivalry game against N.C. State that has been circled on their calendar for months.
As expected, the Wolfpack crowd was in a full-scale frenzy as the referee threw the ball in the air to tip-off the game.
N.C. State point guard Lorenzo Brown orchestrated a beautiful first half performance that propelled the Wolfpack to a 45-26 first half lead and put UNC into an overall funk.
The final score, 91-83 in favor of N.C. State, didn't indicate just how in control N.C. State was throughout the game.
Brown had 12 points and four assists at the half and finished with 20 points and 11 assists.
After the game, UNC Head Coach Roy Williams wasn't in the mood to talk about moral victories.
He was very blunt about how he felt the game went.
"It was a butt-kicking is what it was," remarked Williams. "I'm not big into moral victories whatsoever."
UNC's James Michael McAdoo picked up two early fouls and spent a majority of the first half on the bench. McAdoo's inability to stay on the court forced freshman Brice Johnson to play more first-half minutes than he otherwise might have.
McAdoo ended up with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Johnson and fellow freshman Joel James had to shoulder the burden left behind by McAdoo's foul troubles.
Johnson aggressively attempted to score inside and even had a ferocious alley-oop slam late in the first half but was unable to consistently convert down low.
Johnson finished with six points, four rebounds and 3-of-8 shooting.
As UNC's inexperienced roster continues to truck along in ACC play, it appears Williams has given up on giving his team the benefit of being young.
"I don't care about learning experiences. Learning experiences, that's for babies," Williams said. "We've had enough learning experiences. On game nights you've got to step out there and play."
"I'm not into moral experiences and I'm not into this pansy kind of crap (about learning experiences)," the Hall of Fame added.
UNC was unable to do two crucial things against N.C. State: Defend the paint and get back on defense.
"We wanted to try and emphasize getting back on defense. That's the thing we talked about yesterday, talked about it today. First half they have 20 fast-break points," said Williams. "So I didn't do a very good job coaching and getting our guys ready."
UNC gave up 44 points in the paint and 39 total fast break points.
"North Carolina State was more prepared. They had a greater sense of urgency," said Williams. "We have a loose ball at the center line and we're reaching down to pick it up and T.J. Warren comes behind and dives in there and gets the ball. That was the game the way I looked at it from my view."
The Wolfpack ran UNC off the court despite UNC giving 10 players double-digit minutes compared to only six double-digit minute players for N.C. State.
UNC's Reggie Bullock, usually a sniper for the Heels, struggled Saturday night.
Against N.C. State he had a rough game, shooting the ball 4-of-11 from the field and finishing with 10 points.
"They definitely played with more heart," said the veteran leader Bullock. "I think the last eight, nine minutes of the game we really started playing our game."
The Tar Heels outscored the Wolfpack in the second half 57-46.
"We should have started off the game like that," said Bullock. "We dug ourselves a deep hole that we couldn't climb out of. I hope my teammates don't let this slow us down."
The Tar Heels had been on a three-game winning streak before dropping Saturday's game in Raleigh.
The Tar Heels were able to get the game to within single-digits at one point in the second half after trailing by 20 points or more for most of the game.
However, Williams emphasized that it still hurts when you don't get the victory.
"The kids kept playing but it's not a very good feeling right now," said Williams.
Wolfpack forward C.J. Leslie scored 17 points and pulled down 10 rebounds, giving him a double-double.
Leslie's front-court mate Richard Howell also had a double-double tallying 16 points and 14 rebounds.
N.C. State outrebounded UNC 42-32 and 12-9 on the offensive glass.
UNC point guard Marcus Paige talked about his difficulties guarding his opposing point guard, Brown.
"He's a great player. A lot of my focus defensively was on making him take tough shots," said Paige. "When he's in transition no one can really guard him."
N.C. State had five players (Leslie, Brown, Howell, Rodney Purvis and T.J. Warren) score in double figures against North Carolina.
N.C. State's victory Saturday night broke a 13 game losing streak against the Tar Heels.
This is the first time N.C. State has defeated both of its rivals in the Triangle (Duke and UNC) in the same season since 2002-2003. Tonight's game also stands as the most points UNC has given up to N.C. State since the Wolpack defeated the Tar Heels 98-76 in 2002.