CHAPEL HILL — There was no hand-wringing over losing a 19-point lead, or any lead for that matter, only shame after N.C. State's 84-64 loss at North Carolina on Saturday.
The Wolfpack's ninth straight loss in the series, and 15th in 16 games against UNC coach Roy Williams, left senior Tracy Smith the same color as the Pack's road uniform.
"I was embarrassed, real embarrassed," Smith said. "I blame me though. I got frustrated in the first half and it just continued through the whole game. I think I hurt the team."
Smith, who finished with 12 points and three rebounds before fouling out with 4:35 left in the rout, got out-played by UNC forward John Henson, who was dominant with 16 points, 16 rebounds and seven blocked shots.
State coach Sidney Lowe, who fell to 1-9 against UNC, said the players should be embarrassed. Asked if he was, Lowe said:
"Am I? Yeah, you don't come out and play like that," Lowe said. "You have to play better than that. This is a big game."
State dropped to 2-5 in the ACC and 12-9 on the season, with only a nonconference win over George Mason to cling to and an 0-4 ACC road record.
Playing without point guard Ryan Harrow, who is suffering from the flu, State couldn't have started any slower. State missed 18 of its first 21 shots and got out-rebounded 15 to 2 as UNC built a 28-14 lead.
On Tuesday, State jumped out to a 19-point lead at Clemson in the first half, only to have the Tigers come back and win by 10 points.
There was no comeback for State, which never held the lead on Saturday. After going into halftime down 34-21, the Pack got only as close as 11 points at 15:49 the second half but it only got worse from there.
"I don't feel like we fought as hard as we could," Smith said.
Freshman guard Lorenzo Brown scored 18 of his 20 points in the second half to keep the final score from being more lopsided. Freshman forward C.J. Leslie added 14 points and seven rebounds but was often a liability on defense.
Brown chalked up the first-half performance by the two freshmen to jitters.
"For me and C.J. it was our first time playing here," Brown said. "I know I had jitters at first. We were all hyped about this game but we didn't show it on the court."
Lowe cited Brown's play at the point, in Harrow's stead, as a positive to take from the game. Given the discrepancy on the glass, 53-39, and turnovers (16) and shooting percentage (36.4) there was little else for Lowe to talk about.
Smith suggested there something to be taken from the second half, which saw State score 43 points after putting up on 21 in the first half.
"I don't think our guys gave up," Smith said. "I don't think it's a lack of toughness, I think we came out lackadaisical."
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