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Off the cuff: The Tar Heels are getting in a habit of opening up close games late. It was the same at NC State despite the Wolfpack rowdy ABC-atmosphere.

Carolina really should have been ahead by 10 points at the half rather than just 30-28 but the Heels fouled the Pack often, giving the home team some free throws.

UNC actually never trailed after Jalen Washington tipped in Carolina miss to put the Heels up 23-21 with about four minutes left in the first half.

But it stayed close until that late run. Carolina didn't shoot well - just 39 percent from the floor and 60 percent from the free throw line. But the Tar Heels held the Wolfpack to historic low numbers with the Pack shooting just 26.9 percent from the floor including just 9.5 percent from the three-point line (two of 21).

Harrison Ingram partially attributes the win to some defensive changes the Heels have made. "We made some tweaks in practice over the last couple of weeks and it's working," Ingram said.

"We're being more physical and playing more one-on-one defense against our man rather than so much switching."

How much was great defense and how much was just cold shooting by the Pack for some reason is not known. But, regardless, it has been a strong three-game road defensive effort for the Tar Heels.

Carolina 67, NC State 54
Tar Heels battle past Pack with late run

(Photo by UNC Sports Information)

North Carolina's defense held NC State to just 27 percent shooting and used a 15-2 run late in the game to battle past the Pack 67-54 at the PNC Arena in Raleigh. (1/10)

Up just 30-28 at the half and 52-48 with less than nine minutes to play, the Tar Heels reeled off 11 points in a row to open up the game.

Elliot Cadeau got the run started as he dashed across the lane for a bucket. RJ Davis penetrated the lane for a 10 footer than gave Carolina its first double-digit lead of the game at 59-48.

Cadeau helped extend the lead when he backhanded a pass around State big man DJ Burns to Armando Bacot for a nifty bucket. The 11-0 run eventually extended to a 15-2 run after Davis drilled a three from the left sideline to give the Heels their biggest lead at 67-50.

"Cadeau has the ability to attack and get to the basket," UNC coach Hubert Davis said. "In the second half, his defense was just terrific.

Coach Davis said he told the team after the game that they played "elite" defense. "In the first half, we played good defense but then we'd foul," he said. "In the second half, we didn't do that - we played good defense and didn't foul."

It was a total team effort, Coach Davis said, pointing to Jalen Washington's defense on Burns, Seth Trimble's offensive boost in the second half and Harrison Ingram's 19 rebounds.

Ingram missed both his free throw attempts, hit just one of three three-pointers and turned the ball over but he found a way to contribute on the boards.

"I consider myself a Swiss Army Knife player," Ingram said. "I just try to find a way to contribute where needed and help find a way to win."

The Tar Heels outrebounded the Pack 49-42, outscored the Pack in the paint 34-24 and had an 18-8 advantage in fastbreak points.

"It's a good day to be Carolina," Coach Davis said. It was the ninth win for the Tar Heels in their last 11 visits to NC State. Both teams were 3-0 in the ACC coming into the game - the first time both teams were undefeated in the league when facing each other since 1974.

Casey Morsell led the Wolfpack with 12 points while Burns followed with 11 points as State falls to 11-4 and 3-1 in the ACC.

The Tar Heels, led by Davis' 16 points and Cadeau's 11 points, improve to 12-3 overall and 4-0 in the ACC. Carolina hosts Syracuse Saturday at noon after three tough away games at Pittsburgh, Clemson and NC State.

Box score

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