RALEIGH — In a game where 10 men battle on the court for 40 minutes, in the end it came down to two men in one extra five minute period.
Marcus Paige vs. T.J. Warren.
No. 19 North Carolina’s leading scorer — a notorious second-half phenomenon — against the ACC’s leading scorer backed by a home crowd clamoring for him to carry his team over an in-state rival.
But with 0.7 seconds left on the overtime clock in front of a hostile crowd, it was Paige who drew final blood, using a Brice Johnson screen to maneuver around Jordan Vandenberg and drive toward the basket.
As his left hand extended to the rim, rolling the ball off his fingertips and into the net, Paige took a pin to the tautly inflated balloon of PNC Arena.
North Carolina 85, N.C. State 84. It was over.
Just as quickly as the crowd became unglued with an early six-point lead in the bonus period, the revelry ceased, rapidly quieting to funereal tones.
Smatterings of expletives were shouted to referees, to players of both teams, to no one in particular.