RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Joel Berry II scored 18 points to help No. 10 North Carolina beat rival North Carolina State 97-73 on Wednesday night to stay alone in first place in the Atlantic Coast Conference
Luke Maye added a career-high 13 points for the Tar Heels (22-5, 10-3), who shot 56 percent while dominating both the paint and the glass to blow out the Wolfpack for the second time in a month. UNC had won the first meeting 107-56 for the second-worst loss in N.C. State’s history.
UNC finished with a 60-22 edge in points in the paint and a 41-25 rebounding advantage that led to a 27-13 edge in second-chance points.
Freshman Dennis Smith Jr. scored 27 points but little else went right for the Wolfpack (14-13, 3-11), who continued their accelerating descent that has led to growing uncertainty about the future of sixth-year coach Mark Gottfried.
Picked to finish sixth in the 15-team league, the Wolfpack sits ahead of just one team in the standings with four regular-season games left. And since earning its first win at Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium since 1995, N.C. State has lost six straight games — four coming by at least 24 points.
UNC: The Tar Heels have won 21 of 23 meetings against N.C. State, and dominated this one despite playing without injured starting wing Kenny Williams III (knee). It was also a solid bounce back coming six days after a loss at rival Duke.
N.C. State: The season that started with potential has crashed. N.C. State followed Saturday’s 30-point loss at bubble team Wake Forest with another performance filled with bad defense, enough that the Tar Heels had emptied their bench with the team up 93-64 with 2 minutes left — and a chant of “Tar! Heels!” coming from a section of red seats upstairs.
UNC: The Tar Heels have a big ACC game Saturday at home against No. 14 Virginia.
N.C. State: N.C. State hosts No. 25 Notre Dame on Saturday.