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Wright, Hansbrough lead No. 5 UNC past rival NC State

Feb 22, 2007 - 6:49 AM CHAPEL HILL, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Freshman Brandan Wright and Tyler Hansbrough made sure they came away with the last word.

Wright scored a season-high 24 points and Hansbrough added 20 and seven rebounds as No. 5 North Carolina posted an 83-64 victory over intrastate rival North Carolina State.

With the win, the Tar Heels moved atop the Atlantic Coast Conference, surpassing 19th-ranked Virginia, which dropped a 68-60 decision at Miami earlier Wednesday.

"I feel great about the win," North Carolina coach Roy Williams said. "It is something that is important to this team. I loved how much better we competed."

The triumph also helped North Carolina (24-4, 10-3 ACC) avenge its 83-79 disappointing setback in Raleigh on February 2.

Gavin Grant scored two of his 14 points with a layup at the 12:21 mark in the second half as the Wolfpack (14-13, 4-9) closed within 57-52.

North Carolina State played the second half without coach Sidney Lowe, who was taken to the hospital with dehydration. He had been dealing with flu-like symptoms for the past several days.

"Coach Lowe not being there he second half, I think affected all of us," said Wolfpack assistant Monte Towe, who ran the team in absence of Lowe. "We didn't play as well as we needed to, to have a chance to win."

"I found out about right before we started the second half," Wright said of Lowe. "I did not know what was going on, but that's when I found out. He is definitely in our prayers."

North Carolina pulled away for good behind an impressive 13-4 surge, led by Wright's five points, to make it 70-56 with six minutes later.

Wright and Hansbrough combined to score the Tar Heels' next 11 points, extending their advantage to 80-61 with 2:38 remaining.

"We came out and did some good things," Hansbrough said. "We got after them aggressively. I think we did not let them come out and be the aggressor, and I think we turned things around."

Brandon Costner scored 18 points and Engin Atsur added 16 for North Carolina State, which shot 40 percent (20-of-49) from the field.

The Tar Heels lead the all-time series 135-75 and have won 12 of the last 15 meetings here against the Wolfpack.