UNC in for Serious Road Test Against High-Scoring NC State

Kevin Keatts watches

N.C. State will have the answers to take care of in-state rival

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The Tar Heels never trailed.

Rob McLamb of Inside Pack Sports has covered N.C. State athletics and recruiting since 2012.

North Carolina's Luke Maye will be the best post player on the floor given he is averaging 14.4 points and 9.9 rebounds per game, but the emergence of Wyatt Walker could help the Wolfpack neutralize his effectiveness.

"We've been there", said senior Kenny Williams, who had his first career double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. "Every time they went on a run, we'd come back and answer it".

The statistical oddity of the night on Tuesday from No. 15 N.C. State's 90-82 loss to No. 12 North Carolina came during the first 20 minutes of the game.

Tuesday night against UNC, Johnson struggled, and it showed.

"I was all over the place in here", Johnson said. "I tried really hard to get back out there". Freshman guard Coby White, UNC's third-leading scorer, had 19 points. Maye also grabbed 11 rebounds, his 6th double-double of the season, and was one of three North Carolina starters with a double-double. "I always tell these guys that you aren't always going to score the basketball, but rely on your defense to get back".

Coach Keatts on sticking with the 10 man rotation. "I think Leaky, (Brandon Robinson), (Nassir Little) all gave us more, and I think that was huge for us". UNC responded with nine straight points, including a 3 from Williams, to push the lead to 10 with 5:44 left. "Get people in the right spots, we work on that stuff every day". "We both play fairly similar, to be honest with you".

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 MI on the road, and then-No.

UNC: The Tar Heels had built momentum since losing to Kentucky on December 22, beating Davidson and Harvard before winning their league opener at Pittsburgh - all by 20 or more points. Its next game is at home against Louisville on Saturday. One of the things he didn't like was the 23 turnovers, which was tied for a season-high.

Kevin Keatts spent his first year at North Carolina State installing an aggressive pressure-based scheme. The Wolfpack forces their opponents to turn the ball over on a 25 percent of their possessions.

The Tar Heels turned it over on 26.4 percent of their possessions, which nearly played into Wolfpack's hands. But the Tar Heels overcame it as a group. In a matchup of the ACC's top two teams in rebounding margin, UNC controlled the boards, 51-33.

"We have some of the best fans in the country", Beverly said. He was a year ago in Chapel Hill, when the Wolfpack won there but he wasn't on Tuesday. The Wolfpack twice managed to tie the game in the second half, yet kept coming up a shot or stop short. Each time, however, UNC had a response, preventing the Wolfpack from ever taking the lead. UNC is smaller than normal this year, too, but head coach Roy Williams' reluctance to play small ball may actually pay dividends in this game if their bigs can control the glass. "Glad to get out of town".

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