UNC 84, N.C. State 64

Sidney Lowe rather famously won his first game against Carolina as the coach of the Wolfpack, by breaking out a bright red blazer to wear during the game. (Also, by embarrassingly out-rebounding the Heels, as I recall.) It was a sign of a new era for State fans; just not the era they were expecting. Since that game, N.C. State has lost to UNC by 19, 9, 29, 14, 17, 9, 14, 13, and today and even 20 points. Through everything Carolina's gone through in the last few years, there's nothing to pick a team up like a game against the Wolfpack.

Today it was mostly Harrison Barnes' first big game in college. Barnes had nine points of UNC's opening 13-2 run, and State never recovered from the initial shock. The Wolfpack would never cut the lead to less than nine, while Barnes would finish with 25 points on 10-16 shooting. More importantly, he was relaxed and all smiles for an audience that included a group of his high school teachers. He often out-hustled multiple State players to lose balls, and really elevated his game. While his closing effort against Miami was too short of a spurt to promise a new and improved player, this game is a heartening sign; if he plays the same against Boston College, it's enough to call it a trend.

Whatever Barnes wasn't doing, John Henson was. The big man would finish with 16 points, 16 rebounds, and 7 blocks. And that last number underestimates his defensive performance. He was changing almost every shot that came within five feet of him; holding Tracy Smith to 12 points and leaving C.J. Leslie settling for bad distance shots. Although Barnes may get more press out of this game, Henson had the better performance on the day. 

As for everything else, it went about as expected. There were too many turnovers and a couple of stretches where the team couldn't find the bottom of the net. The defense held, though, and even though Knox, Zeller and Drew spent large stretches in foul trouble and the three-point shooting was pretty minimal outside of Barnes, you can't really complain. Carolina won big, they won easily, and they're in a nice rhythm with a pretty rough stretch up ahead. Not a bad day for a nice, relaxing State game.

Wolfpack vs Tar Heels boxscore

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