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NC State holds off UNC, 63-59

Not pretty, but effective.

North Carolina v NC State Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

NC State did about all it could to fumble away the game in the fourth quarter, what with the missed free throws, the rough turnover in the final minute, going the last five minutes without a made field goal, things of that nature.

But State also stepped it up defensively, forcing a crucial jump ball with 26 seconds left, and also drawing an offensive foul with 10 seconds to go and the lead at three. The Tar Heels didn’t exactly have their best offense on display in the final minutes, and the Pack did just enough to fend them off.

Four Factors

... NC State UNC
... NC State UNC
eFG% 41.8 45.0
TO% 13.1 16.1
OR% 23.1 14.7
FTR 26.2 8.3

Pace and Efficiency

UNC 59 68 86.8 92.6
NC State 63 68 92.6 86.8

It helped that the Pack was up eight when it began a four-plus-minute scoreless drought down the stretch—State had responded nicely to UNC going ahead by three early in the fourth, putting together a 9-0 run that included a big three from Madison Hayes. The momentum and the offense would not last, but hey, no harm done.

Mimi Collins had a standout night, finishing with 14 on 6-11 shooting to go with seven rebounds and no turnovers. Taking care of the ball was a major key to victory, as was getting to the free throw line, where the Pack was very good until the final minute.

Saniya Rivers filled up the box score as usual, posting 14 points, nine boards, four assists, and two steals. Aziaha James added 10 points and was 4-5 inside the arc.

These teams will see each other again in a few weeks, and who knows what may be at stake then. State pushed ahead of the Heels in the standings with tonight’s win, and can get to first place with wins in these next two very tough games.