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Live blog: UNC beats NC State 76-65

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N.C. State was at North Carolina Saturday in a key ACC showdown. The Wolfpack won 91-83 in the PNC Arena . Here is our live blog on Saturday's game at the Smith Center.

5:52 p.m.: So this one's in the books. North Carolina has beaten N.C. State 76-65 in a game was intense, and close, until the final seven minutes.

Richard Howell (18 rebounds and 13 points) and Scott Wood (19 points) were particularly effective for N.C. State. But the Pack got a miserable effort from C.J. Leslie, who had six points and a stunning six turnovers.

UNC got a strong effort from Reggie Bullock (22 points) and James Michael McAdoo (14), but the key to the game was the effort by freshman point guard Marcus Paige down the stretch. Paige's three-pointer was vital to sparking Carolina and Paige, after a horrible game at N.C. State, finished with 14 points and eight assists.

5:46 p.m.: Carolina up 72-59 now. State was in this one, leading 55-54, with 7:26 remaining, when UNC started to turn this one around. That Marcus Paige three-pointer, with :7:19 to play, seemed to ignite the Tar Heels.

5:35 p.m.: Some intense action here. State pulled ahead, led by some sharp shooting by Scott Wood. But Carolina has been on a big run with the Smith Center on fire.

Right now it's 65-57 Carolina, and Marcus Paige, with a big three-pointer and then a three-point play, has led the charge.

State called time to settle down. Richard Howell has been awesome for State, as has Scott Wood, but the Pack sorely needs C.J. Leslie to be a force in the final five minutes. Purvis just had a big turnover for State.

5:21 p.m.: Lots of fascinating story lines in this one, but here's the craziest stat of the day - Carolina is about to get its first free throw.

P.J. Hairston just drove and scored, and got fouled. That drew a huge cheer from the Carolina fans, but Hairston missed the three throw with 9:59 left in the second half.
So the Heels are 0-1 from the foul line and State is 6 of 12.

It's tied at 49 now in a tense game in Chapel Hill.

5:10 p.m.: State's C.J. Leslie has had a miserable game and is on the bench as the Pack goes on a run and cuts Carolina's lead to 40-39. State looks quick and confident onthe floor now, with Brown, Purvis, Wood, Howell and Warren.

Lorenzo Brown just hit a pair of free throws and State leads 43-42 to erase what had been a 10-point UNC lead.

5:04 p.m.: Carolina is out to a 40-35 lead in the second half now thanks to a basket by P.J. Hairston. State missed 15 straight shots, according to ESPN"s announcers, before Scott Wood scored to end the streak. And now T.J. Warren has a basket as well and State looks more in rhythm.

4:47 p.m.: OK, it's North Carolina up at the half, 34-28. Marcus Paige was not much of a factor in the first half - zero points, four assists - but the Heels got what they needed from others.

James Michael McAdoo heated up as the half went along and has 10 points. Reggie Bullock also has 10, and Dexter Strickland and P.J. Hairston have six apiece.

State's biggest problem is C.J. Leslie is so out of the flow of the game. He's trying a lot of one-on-one stuff on offense and has six turnovers and a 1-for-5 shooting touch to show for it. Scott Wood (eight points) and Richard Howell (seven) are leading State.

4:39 p.m.: Wow, what a three-point-shot by P.J. Hairston - and UNC is on a run. It's 32-27 Tar Heels now. 

4:26 p.m., tied at 21: Interesting to see the Wolfpack running on UNC. Rodney Purvis and Lorenzo Brown are getting u the floor and attacking the basket with confidence so far.

But two of the big stars for the two teams, C.J. Leslie and James Michael McAdoo, are struggling to find the rhythm in the game.

Leslie's shots are coming up short and he's fumbling the ball constantly. He already has six turnovers - six! - and we'll still in the first half.

He's 1 for 4 from the field with two points.

McAdoo has taken some tough shots and he's also missed some easy ones. He's 2 for 6 with four points.

4:22 p.m.: Some players already look comfortable in this game, with Scott Wood of N.C. State being one of them. Wood has had an up and down season but has gained his stride in recent games. He just nailed a three-pointer for State - doesn't he make that look easy? - and looks aggressive on offense. He's made three of his first five shots, has eight points. Carolina now ahead, 19-18.

4:10 P.M.: It's a tight game so far. Richard Howell has two baskets right off the bat for State, and Dexter Strickland has a pair for UNC as its 10-7 early for the Pack.  

By the way, Tony Warren joined the Wolfpack starting lineup. UNC went with its new look with P.J. Hairston in the starting rotation.

3:44 p.m.: It's obvious what the key part of this game will be – Lorenzo Brown vs. Marcus Paige.

Brown had 20 points and 11 assists, many of them absolutely beautiful feeds, as the Pack won last month. Paige looked tentative throughout that game, a freshman who got a real schooling in the intensity of ACC basketball.

Paige went 2 for 11 in that game, hit just one of five three-pointers, and had three turnovers.

His shooting has still been erratic since that game, but his ball-handling has been much better and he appears more sure of himself on the court.

Also to watch – how Carolina's  smaller lineup fares against the Pack. UNC went to quicker look with P.J. Hairston on the floor, and has fared better with that look.

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