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No. 5 N. Carolina Bulldozes NC State

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AP
Brandan Wright scored 24 points and No. 5 North Carolina pulled away for a 83-64 victory over North Carolina State on Wednesday night.

Tyler Hansbrough added 20 points for the Tar Heels (24-4, 10-3 Atlantic Coast Conference), who used a huge second-half run to avenge an upset loss earlier this month and move into first place in the league standings.

A North Carolina roster that went 12 players deep proved too much for the fatigue-riddled Wolfpack (14-12, 4-9), who have played with a short bench all season and had five players log at least 29 minutes.

The Tar Heels' superior depth even extended to the coaching staffs. N.C. State played the second half without coach Sidney Lowe, who for several days had been suffering from flulike symptoms and at halftime was taken to a hospital with dehydration. Assistant Monte Towe ran the team in the second half.

Brandon Costner scored 18 points before fouling out with about 2 minutes left for N.C. State.

Engin Atsur had 16 points and Gavin Grant added 14 for the Wolfpack. But without Lowe _ the first-year coach whose bright red jacket was a tribute to his coach at N.C. State, Jim Valvano _ they couldn't conjure up another upset of the Tar Heels. Lowe had coached N.C. State to an 83-79 victory over North Carolina on Feb. 3 in Raleigh.

The revenge-minded Tar Heels all but decided this one early in the second half, using a 23-9 run to take control.

Wright started the decisive run when his layup with about 16 minutes left made it 47-45, Ty Lawson's 3-pointer from the top of the key pushed the lead into double figures for good and Danny Green's 3 about 1 1/2 minutes later capped the run and made it 68-54. N.C. State didn't get closer than 11 the rest of the way.

The Wolfpack came out determined to build upon their 81-56 victory over Virginia Tech three days earlier in which they shot a season-high 67 percent, and for a while it looked as if they might be headed for a repeat.

N.C. State made eight straight shots during a particularly dizzying stretch midway through the first half. Most of those weren't easy ones, either _ including three 3-pointers, the last by Costner to put the Wolfpack up 28-22 just past the 9-minute mark.

The Tar Heels then tightened their defense, drew N.C. State into foul trouble and outscored the Wolfpack 15-6 over the next 6 minutes. North Carolina led 41-40 at halftime.