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Seeing Blue: Tar Heels knock off in-state rival Wolfpack

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- One team scored the first 11 points,
the other had the final 13. In between, No. 25 North Carolina did
just enough to continue its recent domination of North Carolina
State.

Bobby Frasor made sure of it.

The freshman point guard scored 15 of his 17 points in the
second half and had a clutch steal in the final 2 minutes as the
Tar Heels held off the Wolfpack (No. 12 ESPN/USA Today; No. 13 AP) 82-69 Saturday.

"I was really casual and not aggressive with the basketball,"
Frasor said of his struggles before halftime. "I wouldn't say I
was in the zone, but definitely shots were falling, which makes
things a lot easier."

Tyler Hansbrough converted all 14 free throws on his way to 20
points and David Noel added 14 for North Carolina (9-2, 1-0
Atlantic Coast Conference), which won its fifth straight in this
Tobacco Road rivalry. This was the first time since Jan. 20, 1990,
that N.C. State came in with a higher ranking, but it hardly
mattered to the Tar Heels.

"We knew that we have a totally different team this year, and
the past is the past," Noel said. "We have to play for now. The
games we won last year and the year before that weren't going to
help us win this game. We just put all that behind us and went out
and played."

They scored the final 13 points during the last 2½ minutes to
break free from a tie game and made the final margin deceptively
large. While Frasor had none of those points, he had perhaps the
biggest play, jumping in the passing lane for his steal with North
Carolina clinging to a 73-69 lead.

The turnover led to two free throws from Hansbrough, and the
Wolfpack never recovered. Noel capped the stunning conclusion with
his second breakaway dunk, throwing this one down with both hands
to punctuate the Tar Heels' 21st victory in the past 29 games
against N.C. State.

"We had a poor defensive effort at crunch time, and they did a
good job with their offense," N.C. State guard Engin Atsur said.
"They executed really well and they found some open layups."

Ilian Evtimov finished with 15 points and teammate Tony Bethel
had 13 for the Wolfpack (12-2, 1-1), who had their best start in 17
years stopped.

"We were very confident that we were going to win this game,"
Evtimov said. "I don't think people give Carolina enough credit,
they are very good despite the fact that they're very young. They
play hard, they execute and they listen to their coach."

In the first 3½ minutes, it appeared this one might be
different. The Wolfpack jumped to an 11-0 lead, an opening spurt
that included a spectacular dunk by Cameron Bennerman. He beat
everyone to the other end following a steal and left the floor just
inside the foul line.

Still, North Carolina coach Roy Williams refused to call a
timeout, believing his team would recover on its own.

"I made a conscience decision that if it had been
44-to-nothing, I wasn't going to take a timeout," he said. "My
team is so young, they have to grow. I know my team, and I think
that it's better in the long run if they fight their way out."

They did, eventually taking an eight-point lead late in the
first half. N.C. State came back, too, and the second half settled
into a back-and-forth struggle controlled mostly by Frasor.

He put back a miss by Wes Miller to tie it, then had a layup to
help the Tar Heels take a 54-48 lead. With the margin down to three
about 3 minutes later, Frasor banked in a jumper, added another
basket from in close and completed his run with his only 3-pointer
of the game.

"I came back and settled down, and I just played my game,"
Frasor said.

Yet the Wolfpack fought back to another tie, with Bennerman
finishing off another steal with an acrobatic layup to make it
69-all. Hansbrough gave North Carolina the lead with a dunk off an
assist from Noel, and Frasor's steal made sure the Tar Heels hung
on.

They finished 26-for-28 at the line and shot 53 percent from the
field, the first time this season N.C. State has allowed an
opponent to make at least half its shots.

"Any way we can get points on the board was a big key, and no
one's guarding you at the free throw line," said Hansbrough, who
came in shooting 69 percent. "I felt comfortable, I had been
working on it. So they were just going in."

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