At the same time, the 'Pack's opponent, North Carolina, was enjoying 54.8 percent shooting, including 50 percent from beyond the arc. The Tar Heels, sitting at the bottom of the conference, also held a 10-point lead.
Whatever Sendek said during halftime in the locker room of the Entertainment & Sports Arena worked as the Wolfpack scored 62 points in the second half en route to a 98-76 victory for its 20th win of the season. The victory was State's largest against UNC since the 1961-62 season.
"I did what I'm supposed to do," Sendek said. "I said a few things -- obviously, I wouldn't miss that opportunity -- but in all honesty, I didn't have to say a word. I did it because I'm the coach and I'm supposed to, right?
"But those guys, in their hearts tonight -- they didn't need me. They knew what they had to do."
The Wolfpack (20-8, 9-6 in the ACC) attacked immediately out of the break, scoring on all three possessions before North Carolina (7-18, 3-11) called a timeout 1:25 into the half. The Tar Heels put three points on the board after the timeout, but N.C. State had the game tied at 48 with 17:15 to go.
The 'Pack tried to stretch its legs and put the game out of the Tar Heels' reach, but North Carolina managed to hang around. A jumper by Jawad Williams sparked a 9-2 North Carolina run to retake the lead from the Wolfpack.
The battle for the lead continued until Brian Morrison hit a 3-pointer with 7:17 to go. Then Kris Lang fouled Marcus Melvin, and the wolves were off and running.
Perhaps most impressive, they did it without senior point guard Archie Miller, who sat much of the second half with four fouls. He finished with 18 points in 24 minutes.
"When you can't get out there and play, you obviously hope for the best," said Miller, who had never beaten UNC at home. "They did an unbelievable job -- Anthony (Grundy), the guys that ran the offense -- they had a much better second half."
Miller said the Wolfpack's improved defense in the second half helped spark its offensive performance. It held North Carolina to 37-percent shooting in the second half while hitting 58.6 percent of its shots.
"When you're scoring, it's a lot easier to play defense," said UNC point guard Adam Boone, who finished with 17 points and five assists. "In the first half, we were scoring well, so we were able to defend them. In the second half the roles were kind of reversed. And they were able to score -- they scored 62 points."
Grundy led all scorers with 28 points on 9-of-17 shooting from the floor. He and Melvin benefitted from the Tar Heels' 18 second-half personal fouls and went to the free-throw line 22 times, sinking 19 of those shots.
Sunday's game marked the fourth straight game where the Tar Heels have mounted a late effort to win. But it was the third time the effort was unsuccessful.
"There's been a lot of talk about (the Tar Heels) quitting," said UNC coach Matt Doherty. "And they did not quit."
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