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Tar Heels overcome flu, stay unbeaten at home

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- North Carolina freshman Marvin Williams
made 3-pointers, drove to the basket and did everything in between.
He punctuated his coming-out party with a spectacular dunk, where
he posed in the air with his left hand behind his head.

And it all came after he spent a good portion of the day in bed
recovering from the flu.

"He's a freak," teammate Rashad McCants said.

Williams had a season-high 20 points, McCants scored 18 and Sean
May had another double-double, helping the second-ranked Tar Heels
beat North Carolina State 95-71 on Thursday night.

With the illness circulating through the team, Williams joined
coach Roy Williams in taking intravenous fluids before the game.

"He got it on Saturday night, and I didn't get it until Monday
night," Roy Williams said. "Hopefully, three days from now, I'll
look like Marvin."

Raymond Felton reached 1,000 career points and added 10 assists
for North Carolina (18-2, 7-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), which has
won 18 of its past 19 games. May finished with 16 points and 14
rebounds to make up for leading scorer Jawad Williams finishing
with six points, 10 under his average.

"I'm comfortable," Marvin Williams said. "I feel like I can
shoot 'em. I take them when they're open."

The Tar Heels improved to 11-0 at home with a familiar formula --
jump to an early lead, then close it with a dominant run early in
the second half. This time, they shot 66 percent and led 51-32 at
halftime, with McCants, May and Marvin Williams already in double
figures.

"Anytime you score 90 points on a team that wants to score in
the 50s and 60s, you've really got the game under control," May
said.

Julius Hodge had 18 points but couldn't keep the Wolfpack (13-8,
3-5) from falling to 3-7 in their past 10 games. The trouble
started when point guard Tony Bethel contracted colitis after a
2-week battle with the flu, and he sat out four games.

He only returned to the lineup full-time in N.C. State's
previous game against Clemson, and in this one, Bethel played 35
minutes and scored 16 points.

"The guys are battling and really have a terrific mind-set,"
N.C. State coach Herb Sendek said. "Our group has been through a
tremendous amount. The resiliency and character has been admirable,
it really has."

Even with Bethel, the Wolfpack had very few answers for the Tar
Heels. Reserve David Noel finished off a steal in the first half
with a reverse dunk, and Marvin Williams might have topped him with
his highlight-package dunk during the big spurt in the final 20
minutes.

Later, with walk-ons and other little-used players finishing out
the blowout, several teammates were mimicking Williams' move on the
bench.

"He is awesome," Sendek said. "I don't think there is
anything he can't do."

It's an opinion shared by those who see Marvin Williams every
day in practice.

"At the beginning of the season, I think he was a little
hesitant to take some shots and now he's just playing," May said.
"Now, he's starting to realize that he has a little more freedom
and can do more things. The kid's unbelievable."

With the victory secure, Roy Williams spent the final minutes
relaxed on the bench, and he certainly needed the break. He's been
bothered by that viral infection the past couple of days, and
struggled through a post-game interview session with very little
strength in his voice.

"The best thing that happened is that my team played their
butts off and that certainly made me feel a lot better," he said.

N.C. State got to 55-43 early in the second half after Hodge
made one free throw, but that was as close as it would get. May had
a layup on a nice assist from Felton, and Melvin Scott swished a
3-pointer before Marvin Williams' dunk.

He added two free throws a couple of minutes later to make it
70-48, and the rout was on. Earlier, McCants sensed the outcome was
decided, looking toward a friend in the stands and making a
throat-slash gesture.

"Coach told me it was something that wasn't appropriate for us
as a team," McCants said. "I made a mistake in doing it and it
probably will never happen again.

"Like I said, anything I do on the court, people are going to
see it and make a big deal about it. I don't know why, but it
happens."