NC State upends No. 15 North Carolina 58-46
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- North Carolina just never found its offensive groove against North Carolina State, particularly inside against BeeJay Anya and the Wolfpack's physical front line.
The 6-foot-9 Anya blocked six shots to lead a strong defensive performance, while the Tar Heels got nothing from Brice Johnson and frequently failed to finish in the lane during Tuesday's 58-46 loss.
Coach Roy Williams said the Wolfpack "dominated everything, intimidated us inside" as UNC finished just 11-for-25 in the paint.
While Kennedy Meeks posted a double-double, forward Brice Johnson - who had been averaging 17.4 points and shooting 63 percent over the last five games - finished with four points on 1-for-6 shooting.
His only basket came 22 seconds into the game.
"Every time we went up, BeeJay was there blocking it," Johnson said. "That was probably the biggest thing. We didn't go through his chest, we just kind of shied away from it. He did block our shots, and we didn't make the easy ones. That really hurt us."
For N.C. State, Anthony "Cat" Barber scored 15 points in the program's first road win in the series in a dozen years.
Trevor Lacey and Ralston Turner each added 14 points for the Wolfpack (17-11, 8-7 Atlantic Coast Conference), who earned a second marquee road victory this month in pursuit of a fourth straight NCAA tournament trip. N.C. State didn't shoot particularly well, but it played with toughness and composure while frustrating the Tar Heels (19-9, 9-6) just about all night.
By the end, N.C. State had held UNC to its lowest point total in its nearly three-decade run in the Smith Center. Not to mention beat a Williams-coached Tar Heels team in Chapel Hill for the first time ever.
Freshman Justin Jackson scored 16 points for the Tar Heels, who shot 35 percent.
UNC had won 17 of 18 meetings overall and hadn't lost to N.C. State in Chapel Hill since 2003, the year before Williams left Kansas to take over at his alma mater.
N.C. State led by 11 at halftime then as many as 16 early in the second half. Then, after the Tar Heels ran off 12 straight points to build momentum and erase nearly all the deficit, the Wolfpack hung in and kept just enough control to hang on.
Turner scored 11 points after halftime, including three 3-pointers that helped keep the Wolfpack in front.
N.C. State has been living on the NCAA tournament bubble for a solid month. It followed a win against Duke with six losses in eight games and looked sunk, only to follow that with a road upset against top-10 Louisville on Feb. 14 and now another big one.
N.C. State: N.C. State shot just 35 percent for the game. ... The Wolfpack finished with a 41-38 rebounding advantage. ... The Wolfpack went 8-for-11 at the line after halftime.
UNC: Kennedy Meeks finished with 12 points and 14 rebounds. ... UNC shot 3-for-12 from 3-point range. ... The Tar Heels shot just 7-for-25 (28 percent) in the first half. ... Williams had been critical of a home crowd that was "asleep" during Saturday's rout of Georgia Tech. He said this one was "sensational" only to have his team "let them down." ... Williams fell to 23-3 against N.C. State as UNC's coach.
TURNER'S BIG NIGHT
Turner scored 11 after halftime. That included two 3s at absolutely huge times, one after UNC had closed the gap to 38-36 and the second with N.C. State up 45-41 with about 5 1/2 minutes left.
UNC's starting five largely sputtered offensively.
In addition to Johnson, preseason all-American Marcus Paige had seven points on 3-for-8 shooting. And J.P. Tokoto, who had appeared to break loose from a recent funk last week, scored three on 1-for-6 shooting.
N.C. State travels to Boston College on Saturday.
UNC travels to Miami on Saturday.
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