(21) North Carolina 95

(18-6, 9-4 ACC)

(15) NC State 71

(21-6, 10-4 ACC)

    9:00 PM ET, February 22, 2006

    PNC Arena, Raleigh, North Carolina

    1 2 T
    #21UNC 46 4995
    #15NCST 34 3771

    Top Performers

    North Carolina: D. Noel 25 Pts, 11 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    NC State: C. Simmons 14 Pts, 5 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Blk

    Noel's career night leads No. 21 UNC past No. 14 NC State

    RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- David Noel never doubted himself or his teammates. Who cares if North Carolina lost its top seven scorers from last season's national championship team?

    "We know what we lost, and we know what we have," Noel said. "I knew the caliber of players we had left on this team."

    He and the Tar Heels are making believers out of everyone, particularly North Carolina State (No. 14 ESPN/USA Today; No. 15 AP).

    Noel had a career-high 25 points and added 11 rebounds, Reyshawn Terry scored 20 points and No. 21 North Carolina beat the Wolfpack 95-71 Wednesday night to hand N.C. State its first home loss in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

    Tyler Hansbrough finished with 17 points for the Tar Heels (18-6, 9-4), who moved within a half-game of second-place N.C. State in the ACC behind No. 1 Duke (14-0). They also completed their third consecutive season sweep of their Tobacco Road rival, all since Roy Williams took over as coach.

    "It was a fantastic performance for us," Williams said. "I think it was our best basketball of the year."

    On the other side, Wolfpack coach Herb Sendek hasn't fared so well in this series, or the one with the Blue Devils. He fell to 8-38 against those two -- 5-17 vs. North Carolina -- but still has his team poised for its fifth straight trip to the NCAA tournament, which would tie the school record.

    The latest defeat came on his 43rd birthday, and he was serenaded by the third sellout of the season at the RBC Center during the first media timeout. And before the game, former N.C. State star Lorenzo Charles, whose dunk in the final second of the 1983 NCAA championship game secured the national title, offered a good luck message shown on the scoreboard before the tip.

    None of it worked. The Tar Heels won every facet of this game, whether that meant rebounding (43-26), offense (their point total was the most given up this season by the Wolfpack) or defense (they allowed only 44 percent from the field).

    Oh, and North Carolina had a season-low six turnovers.

    "We were outplayed, out-coached and thoroughly whipped by a very good North Carolina team," Sendek said. "Our rebounding was basically nonexistent, and I'm very disappointed in the way we played."

    Andrew Brackman and Engin Atsur each had 16 points for N.C. State (21-6, 10-4).

    It was North Carolina's seventh victory in the past eight games, with the only loss to Duke. With two of the final three regular season games at home, the climb in the standings very well could continue.

    "You know what, our goal is to make a run in the ACC, but right now, we're focused on the next game," said Wes Miller, a former walk-on who scored 15 points -- all on 3-pointers -- and added a career-high six assists. "Confidence is always building when you're playing together like we are."

    Noel was the biggest reason in this one. The senior nearly had a double-double at halftime and passed his previous best of 21 points early in the second half, while Terry and Hansbrough were solid throughout as well.

    "He's been our leader all year, from Day 1," Hansbrough said of Noel. "He's a national champ, he's been through it all. He's been a big help for me and everybody else."

    Few expected this kind of season for Noel or the Tar Heels. He averaged 3.9 points a year ago, and without the departed players, the team was picked to finish sixth in the conference.

    So far, he's increased his scoring to more than 12 points a game.

    "For the most part, I think my confidence is a lot higher," Noel said. "This year, Coach needs me to score more. Last year, he needed me to be a defensive stopper and rebound, and that was something I was proud of. I guess you can say I'm an all-around player."

    The Tar Heels took control with a 13-3 run late in the first half, capped by Terry's 3-pointer, then held off a brief rally midway through the final 20 minutes. N.C. State closed to 60-51 on five straight points from Cedric Simmons, including a three-point play over Byron Sanders.

    But Tony Bethel missed a chance to cut the margin further when he bricked a 3, and as he did from the start, Noel had the answer. He swished a jumper from beyond the arc to increase the lead back to 12, and it still was 10 before two North Carolina freshmen took over.

    Marcus Ginyard had six points and Danny Green tipped in a miss by Noel to make it 74-56 -- the entire spurt came with Terry and Hansbrough on the bench -- and the Wolfpack couldn't recover.

    After hitting 61 3-pointers over the past five games, they finished 6-for-25 and missed all 10 in the second half.

    "They just whipped our tails," said N.C. State forward Ilian Evtimov, who returned after missing one game with a sprained foot. "They're a lot better than they were earlier in the season when we played them, and unfortunately for us, we haven't improved as much."

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 95 71
    FG Made-Attempted 37-69 (.536) 23-52 (.442)
    3P Made-Attempted 10-26 (.385) 6-25 (.240)
    FT Made-Attempted 11-17 (.647) 19-23 (.826)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 22 (0/0) 16 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 24 4

    2005-06 Season

    Jan 7, 2006 @UNC 82, NCST 69Recap
    » Feb 22, 2006 UNC 95, @NCST 71Recap