UNC's balanced attack crushes Wolfpack
Green, Thompson set career highs
UNC (17-0, 2-0 in the ACC) trapped, pressured and blocked the Wolfpack (11-4, 0-1) into a season-low 13-point first half. N.C. State made only six of its 34 shots while enduring a span of 10:14 in between made-baskets. The 13 points allowed by the Tar Heels marked the second-fewest points allowed in a half by a UNC squad in the past 29 years.
"It was a great first half for us," UNC coach Roy Williams said. "(N.C. State) had a lot of shots that they normally make that didn't go in for them today. I think our defense had something to do with it, but it wasn't the only reason."
Leading the way defensively for the Tar Heels was the forward trio of Danny Green, Deon Thompson and Alex Stepheson, who combined to block nine shots on the day - eight of which came in the first half - and to collect 25 rebounds. That interior defense limited N.C. State freshman J.J. Hickson to 14 points on 5-of-16 shooting and forward Brandon Costner to only four points.
The tenacious defense by the Tar Heels sparked countless UNC fast breaks as North Carolina established a blistering tempo on a 30-2 run that turned a nine-point tie into a 41-11 blowout that ended any on-court drama.
"I just felt like we (needed) to keep going because they're a good team. They're just going to come back," North Carolina point guard Ty Lawson said of the first half run. "I thought they were going to come back eventually or make a run at it at least. So I just wanted to keep going, keep scoring points - make it as high as we can before the second half."
Lawson and Thompson set the tone offensively for UNC the with 16 points a piece, while three other Tar Heels scored in double figures to round out the balanced attack. The 16 points scored by Thompson marked a career high. Two other Tar Heels had career days as Green notched a career-best 14 rebounds and tied his career high with four blocks, and Lawson made a personal best four three-point baskets.