The Tar Heels were hampered by two fouls by James Michael McAdoo in the first two minutes of the game. That early foul trouble caused him to sit for nearly seven minutes in the first half.
The Tar Heels were down eight points when McAdoo re-entered the game and he sparked a little UNC run that cut the lead to four.
But that was as close as the Tar Heels would get for the rest of the night.
Rodney Purvis found some space on the perimeter to stretch that lead back out to seven points. On the next possession, C.J. Leslie absolutely destroyed Jackson Simmons with a thunderous dunk through the foul.
After the made free throw, the Wolfpack led by 10.
And one four-minute-barrage later, the N.C. State lead was 23. The Wolfpack closed out a half in which they shot nearly 46 percent from the floor with a 19-point lead.
The Tar Heels on the other hand hit just 30 percent of their first-half attempts and were led by seven points from Hairston and six from Brice Johnson – all off the bench.
“Nobody on the team came out aggressive,” Hairston said. “State came out aggressive, punched us in the mouth and we took it. We didn’t decide to play basketball until the last eight minutes of the game and we paid for it.”
After starting the second half in much the same fashion in which they finished the first, the Tar Heels managed to scrap back into the game. UNC put together a 26-9 run and cut the N.C. State lead down to single digits around the five minute mark as Marcus Paige made two free throws.
But the Wolfpack, as they did in the first half, made up for their mistakes at the other end — and quickly.
Following a missed 3-point attempt by Reggie Bullock, Scott Wood completed a four-point play and the Wolfpack lead was quickly back to 15 points.
“I was dumb enough to think we could come back and win,” Williams said. “We got it to 11 and Reggie had a wide open three with over five minutes to play but he missed it. Then we go down and Scott Wood makes a really tough shout and Dexter was close enough, he fouled him and they get a four-point play.
“I think, shots going in, it’s going to go to eight with five minutes to play and instead it goes to 15 on the other end.”
Five N.C. State players finished with double-digit points and they were led by Lorenzo Brown who had 20. Leslie notched a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
Hairston was the leading scorer for the Tar Heels as he finished with 19 points in 17 minutes. He also knocked down three second half 3-pointers that kept the Tar Heels within striking distance.
With one minute left, Hairston cut the lead to seven with his final 3-pointer of the game and McAdoo cut the lead to five with less than half a minute to play but UNC would come no closer.
Near comeback or not, Williams’ mind was made up about the Tar Heel performance.
“I’m not into moral victories guys,” Williams said, “and I’m not in to any of this pansy kind of crap – we stunk.”