Trailing 30-29, N.C. State promptly forced two turnovers and put up six points in just over a minute to regain momentum. But in a fitting close to the half, UNC made its last four shots — including an Armando Bacot dunk and Brooks put-back in the last 10 seconds — to take a 39-35 lead into the break.
Brooks kept it going in the second half, scoring or assisting on UNC’s first three baskets to put his team up eight and force an early N.C. State timeout. As the Wolfpack continued their slow start, North Carolina extended its lead to a game-best nine.
N.C. State’s Devon Daniels changed that. With some tough buckets, plus a monstrous D.J. Funderburk dunk, the Wolfpack made five straight shots and willed themselves back into the game.
Thanks to timely buckets by grad transfers Christian Keeling and Justin Pierce, though, North Carolina hung onto a 60-52 lead with 10 minutes left.
Its lead wasn’t threatened again until around the six-minute mark, when six quick points brought N.C. State within four and got PNC Arena rolling again. But a timely 6-0 run by North Carolina kept the game out of reach.
By the final media timeout, N.C. State had made just one of its last nine field goals. And after UNC shored up its lead with late free throws, the game was over.
Who stood out?
Brooks shouldered the offensive load for UNC; the junior finished with 25 points on 11-20 shooting and also had 11 rebounds.
UNC also got strong contributions from Black, Bacot and Brandon Robinson, all of whom had 11 points. Funderburk led N.C. State in scoring with 18 points; Daniels added 17.
When was it decided?
N.C. State went on a 6-0 run, punctuated by a Daniels dunk, late in the second half. With its lead down to 65-61, though, UNC was undaunted.
The Tar Heels scored six straight of their own — four of them from Platek — to re-extend their lead to 10 at the 3:47 mark and, ultimately, hold on for a win.
Why does it matter?
UNC moved to 67-46 all time when playing N.C. State in Raleigh and 17-4 in PNC Arena. Head coach Roy Williams also boosted his overall record against the Wolfpack to 36-4.
The Tar Heels also registered their first two-game win streak since late December, when they beat UCLA on Dec. 21 and Yale on Dec. 30.
When do they play next?
North Carolina hosts Boston College on Saturday at 6 p.m. in the Smith Center. The Eagles are 10-10 and 4-5 in the ACC this season.
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