RALEIGH, N.C. — Luke Maye scored 27 of his career-high 33 points after halftime to help No. 21 North Carolina beat rival North Carolina State 96-89 on Saturday.
Maye also had 17 rebounds and spent most of the second half as a one-man show for the Tar Heels (19-7, 8-5 Atlantic Coast Conference).
But he got plenty of help as the Tar Heels closed out the Wolfpack (16-9, 6-6), including when Kenny Williams hit a 3-pointer with 1:13 left and UNC protecting an 88-84 lead.
UNC shot 78 percent (25 of 32) after halftime behind Maye’s 12-of-14 showing.
Joel Berry II added 16 points for the Tar Heels, who were less than 48 hours removed from an emotional win against another rival: ninth-ranked Duke.
Torin Dorn scored 21 points to lead the Wolfpack, who won in overtime in Chapel Hill two weeks ago. But N.C. State couldn’t complete its first regular-season sweep of the Tar Heels since 2003.
UNC: The Tar Heels were coming off Thursday’s 82-78 win against the Blue Devils, but Berry stirred things up for this one two days earlier when he said he didn’t consider the Wolfpack a rival. It was a loud and rowdy environment, but the Tar Heels responded with a second straight strong second-half performance.
N.C. State: The NCAA Tournament resume is the most pressing issue. The Wolfpack entered with top-line wins (Arizona, Duke, Clemson, UNC) offset somewhat by an otherwise-weak schedule that featured 12 wins against Quadrant 3 and 4 teams — the lower half of the NCAA selection committee’s revamped system evaluating win quality. N.C. State’s still in the chase, but this one would’ve helped immensely.
UNC: The Tar Heels complete a run of three games in five days by hosting Notre Dame on Monday.
N.C. State: Syracuse hosts the Wolfpack on Wednesday night in a matchup of teams seeking to bolster their postseason chances.