UNC Basketball: Luke Maye powers Tar Heels past Wolfpack


A big game from junior Luke Maye helps UNC get past NC State

Make that three-straight wins for the North Carolina Tar Heels.

In an important second game of a three-game stretch in five days, the Tar Heels got a big performance by junior Luke Maye to beat NC State.

Maye scored a career-high 33 points and grabbed 17 rebounds in the win as the Tar Heels got some revenge on the Wolfpack and won 96-89.

UNC improved to 18-7 overall and 7-5 in conference play, keeping their double-bye hopes alive.

The first half was a tale of runs for both teams. Carolina went on a 12-2 run to grab a lead over the Wolfpack but then hit a scoring drought.

NC State took advantage by going on a 19-0 run while the Tar Heels missed 12-straight shots.

That extended NC State’s lead out to 37-28 with 3:44 left in the first half. But the Tar Heels were able to put a run together of their own to close out the half. They went on a 7-0 run and trailed 37-35 at the half.

The second half was a different story.

It was all about Maye as came up with several big buckets to help the Tar Heels secure the win.

Maye scored 27 of his 33 points in the second half and was the go-to guy for UNC. He finished 15-of-22 from the field including making two three-pointers.

The Tar Heels led for most of the second half with NC State crawling back and cutting the lead down to two at 85-83 after a three-point play. But then it was Kenny Williams’ turn for some magic.

Williams hit a dagger three-pointer with 1:13 left in the game to push UNC’s lead out to 88-83 and they eventually held on by draining free throws.

All five starters for the Tar Heels finished in double figures led by Maye’s 33. Joel Berry finished with 16, Cam Johnson with 13 and both Williams and Pinson finished with 11.

Game notes

  • UNC did commit 19 turnovers just two days after committing only two against Duke.
  • The Tar Heels had a stretch of 7:12 without scoring a point. They managed to score 96 in the other 32:48 per Ivan Corriher.
  • Theo Pinson moved into 23rd all-time on UNC’s assists list, passing Dexter Strickland on Saturday per Adrian Atkinson.

Player of the Game

Without a doubt this one goes to Maye.

The junior had a monster second half, scoring buckets and helping UNC get a big win on the road.

With another double-double, Maye now has 13 on the season. That matched Kennedy Meeks’ total from last season. Maye really showed up when the Tar Heels needed him to the most and did it in the paint and from behind the three-point line.

State of the game

The Tar Heels scored on 69.2 percent of their possessions in the second half for a total of 61 points.

That was up from the 36.6 percent in the first half. UNC also cut back on turnovers in the half, despite committing 19 on the game:

What’s next?

UNC wraps up this tough stretch by hosting Notre Dame in the Dean Dome on Monday night.

The Tar Heels beat Notre Dame in South Bend 69-68 back in January, escaping after the Fighting Irish missed two looks at the rim in the final seconds.

Notre Dame will be without Bonzie Colson but will have Matt Farrell back.

UNC is looking to hold onto their current double-bye spot with a win.