NC defends itself from a late UNC rally and beats Heels 79-76

Oh, no, you can’t go and make it easier when you could make it easier, can’t you, the magnificent basketball team? Always love beautiful basketball kids! Wheeew. Wow. So it all happened, huh.

UNC got their offensive recoveries, as usual, and Jericole Hellems barely scratched the score column and yet this was a game that NC State led by 17 at one point in the first half. I’m as confused as you are.

Devon Daniels and Manny Bates were both outstanding, and Shakeel Moore picked a nice moment to break out with 17 points. The three combined to shoot 21-35 from the floor, while UNC and especially Garrison Brooks fought from the field. Brooks looked like an NBA All-Star in two games against the State last season, but he only shot 5-14 tonight.

RJ Davis and Caleb love combined to shoot 8-28.

The lack of perimeter offense by Tar Heels was obvious, as they shot only 2-12 of three, and this was particularly damaging because Heels had only an average night inside the arc: 50% on two.

NC State got an effective perimeter score, going 8-17 from the outside, which helped Wolfpack to have a decisive advantage. This and a +4 profit margin helped outweigh Heels’ comeback advantage, twisting that particular script on its head for once.

A less painful finish would have been nice, but who cares, it’s a victory and a relief, and Christmas is not canceled.