After years of being pushed around by its in- state rival, North Carolina State decided to do a little bullying of its own.
Lorenzo Brown tallied 20 points and 11 assists to lead five Wolfpack players in double figures, and No. 18 NC State dominated North Carolina most of the way en route to a 91-83 victory over its fellow Tobacco Road resident at PNC Arena.
C.J. Leslie and Richard Howell also recorded double-doubles to help the Wolfpack snap a string of 13 consecutive losses to the Tar Heels, a streak that dated back to 2007. T.J. Warren added 19 points on 9-of-12 shooting for NC State (16-4, 5-2 ACC), which held a lead as large as 28 points before staving off a belated comeback attempt.
Leslie amassed 17 points and 10 rebounds, with Howell pulling down a game-high 14 boards in addition to a 16-point effort and Scott Wood chipping in 12 points for the Wolfpack.
'A lot of different guys stepped up big at different times tonight, especially in the first half," said NC State head coach Mark Gottfried. "Very unselfish effort all around."
P.J. Hairston scored 12 of his team-best 19 points in the second half for North Carolina (13-6, 3-3), which had won three in a row following an 0-2 start to ACC play. James-Michael McAdoo finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds in the loss.
The Wolfpack came out both determined and strong, netting the game's first six points and roaring out to a 18-7 lead just over six minutes in after Brown buried a trey to cap a 7-0 spurt. Hairston answered for the Tar Heels with a triple on the following possession, but two Leslie free throws followed by a Warren basket put NC State ahead by a 22-10 count with 11 1/2 minutes remaining in the first half.
North Carolina put up eight straight points to cut the deficit to four, but the Wolfpack responded with a massive run to put the Tar Heels in an even larger hole.
The Tar Heels had no answer for NC State's up-tempo attack as the Wolfpack ripped off a 20-2 tear over the next four minutes, making good on 8- of-10 field goal attempts during that stretch and getting the majority of those points in transition. A fastbreak layup from Warren with 2:38 to go in the half made the score 40-20 in the Wolfpack's favor, and the freshman came through with a steal and dunk just seconds later to extend the margin to 22 points.
"We emphasized getting back on defense, and they had a 20-0 first-half edge in transition points," said Tar Heels head coach Roy Williams. "We need to do a better job of coaching. NC State was more prepared, and they had a greater sense of urgency."
North Carolina limped into the break down 45-26 after shooting a dreadful 30.3 percent from the field.
The differential swelled to as many as 28 points after consecutive buckets by Brown capped a 10-2 sequence that sent the Wolfpack in front by a 61-33 count with 13:22 left.
The Tar Heels would make a bid to get back it in, however, outscoring NC State by a 28-9 margin over the next eight minutes to get to within single digits. Consecutive 3-pointers by Hairston and Reggie Bullock trimmed the Wolfpack lead to 70-59 with 5:52 to go, and Marcus Paige sank a pair of free throws on UNC's next trip to create a nine-point spread.
NC State appeared to have the game back in hand after an 8-0 run -- highlighted by a 4-point play by Wood -- put the Wolfpack up 80-63 with under four minutes remaining. The lead was 14 points with less than two minutes left, before the Tar Heels gave the home crowd a bit of a scare with a 9-0 surge culminating in McAdoo's dunk that made it an 85-80 game with 28 seconds on the clock.
The Wolfpack, who went 20-of-23 from the foul line for the night, were able to seal the win, however, when Wood and Brown combined for four consecutive successful free throws down the stretch.
"I'm not into moral victories," said Williams of his team's late comeback try. "We stunk. They were guarding us a lot harder than we were guarding them."
NC State's most recent victory in the series had been an 83-79 decision in Raleigh on Feb. 3, 2007 ... North Carolina guard Leslie McDonald, the Tar Heels' fourth-leading scorer at 8.4 points per game, did not play while beginning a three-game team-imposed suspension handed down earlier in the week ... Williams lost to the Wolfpack for only the second time in 26 lifetime encounters as a head coach ... Howell has now notched 10 or more rebounds in eight consecutive games, the longest streak by an NC State player since a 10- game run by Tommy Burleson in 1972-73 ... Saturday's game marked the first time since 1990 in which the teams have met when the Wolfpack were ranked and the Tar Heels were not.