The Tar Heels’ point total was a season low and 27 below their average, and they shot only 35 percent.
Freshman Dennis Smith Jr. scored a season-high 32 points
Jayson Tatum had 14 points and Luke Kennard 11 for the Blue Devils, who snapped a two-game skid with a dominant second half.
Wake Forest used a 9-0 run to build a 10-point lead with 6 minutes left, then held off a frantic comeback by the Wolfpack.
It was the sixth straight win for Carolina (18-3, 6-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) since a league-opening loss to Georgia Tech.
Maverick Rowan scored a season-high 21 points.
Kennedy Meeks added 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Tar Heels,
Freshman Dennis Smith Jr. had 31 points for N.C. State, which shot 41 percent.
Justin Jackson and Isaiah Hicks each added 22 points for the Tar Heels
Grayson Allen, a frequent target of boos from the red-clad crowd, scored 23 points.