North Carolina 76, NC State 65
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP)
Freshman point guard Marcus Paige added 14 points and eight assists for the Tar Heels (19-8, 9-5 Atlantic Coast Conference), who have won three straight games to build momentum and climb the league standings.
North Carolina went ahead for good with an 18-2 run in the second half while holding the Wolfpack to a single basket during a nearly 5-minute stretch.
James Michael McAdoo also scored 14 for UNC, while P.J. Hairston added 12. The Tar Heels also scored 24 points off 17 turnovers to offset the Wolfpack's size advantage.
Scott Wood scored 19 points to lead the Wolfpack (19-8, 8-6), who snapped a three-game winning streak and couldn't complete what would've been the program's first regular-season sweep of the Tar Heels in a decade.
N.C. State won the first meeting 91-83 last month, leading by 28 points midway through the second half on the way to snapping a 13-game losing streak in the series that dated to 2007. It marked only the second time the Wolfpack had beaten the Tar Heels since Roy Williams returned to his alma mater before the 2003-04 season.
Both of those wins had come in Raleigh, but Bullock and Paige ensured Williams would remain perfect against N.C. State in Chapel Hill.
Bullock finished 7-for-16 from the field and hit five 3-pointers while turning in the best rebounding performance of his career to help the small-lineup Tar Heels hang in against the Wolfpack's bigger front line.
It was also a huge turnaround for Paige considering his miserable showing in Raleigh. Paige managed seven points on 2-for-11 shooting in the last game, but held his own against preseason all-ACC point guard Lorenzo Brown this time around and finished with no turnovers in 31 minutes.
Williams yanked his regulars for a 2-minute stretch as the Wolfpack erased a 10-point deficit early in the second half and went ahead by four. But once Williams finished voicing his displeasure and put them back in at the 11:37 mark, his Tar Heels were ready to finally take control.
North Carolina outscored N.C. State 25-8 over the next 8 minutes, including the 18-2 run led by Bullock and Paige that sent the Smith Center crowd into a roar.
Bullock knocked down a pair of 3-pointers during that spurt, while Paige hit one of his own and blew by Wood for a layup and a three-point play. By the time Paige knocked down two free throws with 3:37 left, the Tar Heels had turned a 55-52 deficit into a 70-57 lead.
Richard Howell added 13 points and 17 rebounds for N.C. State, which finished with a 43-34 rebounding advantage. But the Tar Heels - who stayed with their four-guard lineup and shorter rotation - stayed close on the offensive boards and even took a 15-7 edge in second-chance points.
Brown had 12 points and 12 assists, but preseason ACC player of the year C.J. Leslie was a no-show with six points, four rebounds and six turnovers in 30 minutes.