RALEIGH, N.C. — Luke Maye scored 21 points to help No. 12 North Carolina hold off No. 15 North Carolina State 90-82 on Tuesday night in the longtime rivals’ latest meeting.
Freshman Coby White added 19 points for the Tar Heels (12-3, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), who scored the game’s first 12 points and never trailed. But UNC had to turn away a series of pushes from the Wolfpack, who twice tied the game after halftime but never managed to push in front.
The Tar Heels went 6-for-6 at the line in the final 32.1 seconds to seal the win, their sixth straight in Raleigh. UNC also won despite playing the last 12-plus minutes without leading scorer Cameron Johnson, who exited with leg cramps.
Braxton Beverly scored 21 points to lead N.C. State (13-2, 1-1), which had won seven straight games.
UNC: The Tar Heels had built momentum since losing to Kentucky on Dec. 22, beating Davidson and Harvard before winning their league opener at Pittsburgh — all by 20 or more points. It wasn’t always pretty Tuesday night, most notably with the Tar Heels committing 23 turnovers that led to 20 points for the Wolfpack. But UNC kept coming up with a response every time N.C. State made a push.
N.C. State: More than a month had passed since the Wolfpack’s lone loss at Wisconsin, with N.C. State beating then-No. 7 Auburn and entering the AP poll for the first time since January 2013. That run included last week’s win at Miami in the ACC opener, which pushed the Wolfpack to the program’s best start since the 1973-74 season, which ended with an NCAA championship. But a bad start put N.C. State in catch-up mode early, and the Wolfpack never could string enough shots together to grab a lead and ride the momentum of a rowdy home crowd.
UNC: The Tar Heels host Louisville on Saturday.
N.C. State: Pittsburgh visits the Wolfpack on Saturday.