CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Justin Jackson scored 21 points and No. 14 North Carolina ran off a 20-0 first-half run to blow Sunday’s game open and beat North Carolina State 107-56.
Joel Berry II added 19 points for the Tar Heels (14-3, 2-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), who beat the Wolfpack for the 20th time in 22 games in a game postponed from Saturday night because of snow and ice.
And the Tar Heels did it in an unexpectedly lopsided fashion, jumping to a 26-4 lead and pushing that to 56-23 by halftime on Jackson’s 3-pointer just before the horn.
N.C. State (12-4, 1-2) came in with momentum after blowing out No. 21 Virginia Tech behind a triple-double from star freshman point guard Dennis Smith Jr. But Smith got in quick foul trouble Sunday, while the Wolfpack committed a bevy of turnovers that fueled the Tar Heels’ attack.
N.C. State: It was a jarringly bad performance for the Wolfpack, who never responded to UNC’s aggressive start. N.C. State had more turnovers (15) than baskets (nine) in the first half and finished with 26 turnovers. And Smith – a likely one-and-done prospect who can take over games – never found any rhythm, finishing with 11 points on 4-for-11 shooting with six turnovers on an all-around miserable afternoon in Chapel Hill.
UNC: The Tar Heels played to their strength as a veteran team coming off a run to the NCAA title game. UNC shot 49 percent, made 12 of 27 3-pointers and scored 37 points off turnovers to post its highest scoring output ever in the longtime rivalry. On top of that, versatile swingman Theo Pinson made his season debut following October foot surgery, finishing with five rebounds and five assists in 13 minutes off the bench in a major roster addition early in the ACC schedule.
N.C. State: N.C. State visits Boston College on Wednesday.
UNC: The Tar Heels play another instate ACC opponent Wednesday at Wake Forest.
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