Down 17 at halftime, NC State made four of its first five shots after the break. Lee was able to get to the rim a few times and Anthony `Cat' Barber hit a pull-up jumper. After a Lee drive to the basket cut the lead to 55-39, NC State called timeout. The Wolfpack would get within 55-42 but an 8-0 UNC run erased a potential comeback.
"I liked that we came out to start the (second) half with a great competitive spirit," head coach Mark Gottfried said. "But we need to do that for 40 minutes. Unfortunately, we had dug ourselves too big of a hole."
A 3-pointer from the right corner and a short jumper from Warren on consecutive possessions made it 71-59. Later, a runner in the lane Barber pulled NC State within 76-66 at the 1:27 mark. The Wolfpack wouldn't get any closer.
NC State fell behind early and could not build enough momentum to climb back into the game. The Tar Heels led 6-0 just 1:43 into the game before a jumper by Ralston Turner put State on the board. North Carolina went on to extend the lead to 14-4 and led by double figures the entire first half. A 3-pointer by J.P. Tokoto and a running lay-up by Leslie McDonald put UNC ahead 40-23 at halftime.
North Carolina (14-7, 4-4 ACC) was led by McDonald's 20 points. James Michael McAdoo added 16 points and 13 rebounds.
NC State will have seven days off before playing at Miami Saturday, Feb. 8 at 2 p.m. The Pack's next home game will be Tuesday, Feb. 11 against Wake Forest at 7 p.m.