Raleigh, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - Marcus Paige netted 31 of his 35 points in the second half and overtime, including a game-winning layup with less than a second to play as 19th-ranked North Carolina topped rival North Carolina State, 85-84, at PNC arena.
Paige shot 7-of-12 from behind the arc and contributed six rebounds and five assists for UNC (21-7, 11-4 ACC), which won for the 10th straight time. J.P. Tokoto went for 16 points and 10 rebounds while Brice Johnson added 10 points off the bench.
"It was an unbelievable basketball game," UNC head coach Roy Williams remarked. "Everyone thought we were giving it away and then Marcus made a heck of a drive and we stole one."
NC State (17-11, 7-8) lost despite a career-best 36 points from T.J. Warren, who forced the extra session with a pair of free throws with 1.5 seconds left in regulation and split a pair late in overtime to put the Wolfpack in front before Paige's heroics.
"Marcus Paige made a great play," NC State head coach Mark Gottfried said. "He had to put the ball high off the glass. It is a hard one to take, but you have to bounce back and get ready to go for your next game."
The hosts led 52-45 midway through the second half when Paige caught fire. The sophomore floor general hit two straight from distance, and Tokoto followed with a jumper to give the Tar Heels their first lead since the opening minutes.
Neither team led by more than a possession for the rest of regulation.
Nate Britt hit four in a row from the free throw line and Paige potted a pair, but Warren scored on three straight possessions to keep it tied at 66-apiece. Paige and Ralston Turner then traded triples, and Tokoto drew a foul with five seconds remaining. He made both free throws to put UNC up, but Warren was held away from the ball with less than two seconds to go. He made both, and Paige's last attempt was off the mark as the buzzer sounded.
Warren scored the first six points of the extra session, but Paige kept UNC close with two more 3-pointers. The second cut the deficit to 82-79 and after Tyler Lewis made 1-of-2 from the stripe, Paige made two free throws for an 83-81 contest with under a minute to go. Warren then lost the ball out-of- bounds and James Michael McAdoo tied it with a layup with 29 seconds to go.
After Warren made it 84-83, Paige sprinted the length of the floor, drove to his left and beat the help defender with a scoop layup.
Earlier, the Tar Heels shot just 38.5 percent in the first half and missed all three of their attempts from 3-point range as NC State took a 34-26 lead into the break.