CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Kevin Thompson scored a career-high 29 points, as North Carolina State stunned No. 4 North Carolina for the second time in a month with a 99-94 victory yesterday, ending a school-record nine-game losing streak.
The loss all but eliminates the Tar Heels, who fell three games behind league-leading Duke, from the top seed in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.
The point total equaled that of the 99-88 upset in Raleigh exactly one month ago -- the most the Wolfpack (10-15, 4-8) had ever scored against the Tar Heels (18-5, 8-4). Both wins also marked the beginning and end of the Wolfpack's skid.
The last time North Carolina State beat North Carolina twice during the regular season was 1974, when the Wolfpack was on its way to the national championship.
The N.C. State front line scored 78 of the team's points, as freshman Mark Davis added a career-high 25 points and Tom Gugliotta 24, including three key free throws in the closing seconds.
The Tar Heels led by as many as 11 points in the first half and 10 in the early parts of the second half after the Wolfpack had taken a 47-46 intermission lead.
But Thompson, who scored 27 earlier this season against Iona, continued to work free inside for easy layups after Davis had loosened up the Tar Heel defense with his first-half three-point shooting. The 6-foot-11 junior, who hit 12 of 14 shots, scored nine in a four-minute span that tied the score at 77 with eight minutes remaining.
"I could have played two more hours the way things were going," said Thompson, who left the game for a minute with his fourth foul at the 7:13 mark. "I didn't feel tired. I may have looked a little tired . . . but when the shots are falling like that, I just wanted to stay in."
"To have been in the hole we've been in, it could have been easy for our season to go by the wayside," N.C. State coach Les Robinson said. "Today's victory gives us hope, gives us something to play for."
The Tar Heels took the lead for the last time on Hubert Davis' three-pointer with 2:02 left. Davis tied his career high with 30 points, 19 in the second half.
But Mark Davis made his seventh three-pointer of the game 29 seconds later as the Wolfpack took the lead for good and made six of eight free throws in the final 1:09.
North Carolina built a 30-19 lead with 8:38 left before halftime behind the inside play of Eric Montross and the outside shooting of Hubert Davis.
The 7-foot Montross scored three inside baskets in the game's first three minutes, and Davis later scored nine in a three-minute span.
But the Wolfpack went to its three-point shooting and hot-handed freshman Mark Davis in the final eight minutes of the period to take the lead.
Davis, third in the ACC in long-range percentage at 42.3 percent, hit four three-pointers in less than five minutes as North Carolina's lead disappeared with a 16-4 Wolfpack run.
Curtis Marshall capped the three-point barrage with 1:41 left for N.C. State's first lead at 43-42.
The Wolfpack made seven of 14 three-pointers in the opening half.
N. CAROLINA ST. (10-15) -- Davis 9-15 0-0 25, Gugliotta 9-17 4-5 24, Thompson 12-14 5-9 29, Seale 3-6 1-1 7, Marshall 3-5 3-4 12, Bakalli 0-2 0-0 0, McCuller 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 37-61 13-19 99.
NORTH CAROLINA (18-5) -- Rodl 1-1 0-0 3, Lynch 6-10 1-2 13, Montross 5-7 5-5 15, Davis 10-18 5-5 30, Phelps 4-10 0-0 8, Reese 6-13 0-0 12, Salvadori 2-3 0-0 4, Sullivan 3-7 0-0 7, Wenstrom 0-1 0-0 0, Williams 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 38-72 11-12 94.
Halftime--N. Carolina St. 47, North Carolina 46. 3-point goals--N. Carolina St. 12-23 (Davis 7-10, Gugliotta 2-6, Seale 0-1, Marshall 3-5, McCuller 0-1), North Carolina 7-19 (Rodl 1-1, Lynch 0-1, Davis 5-10, Phelps 0-2, Reese 0-2, Sullivan 1-3). Fouled out--None. Rebounds--N. Carolina St. 26 (Gugliotta 7), North Carolina 34 (Lynch 11). Assists--N. Carolina St. 29 (Seale 11), North Carolina 24 (Lynch 8). Total fouls--N. Carolina St. 9, North Carolina 19. A--21,572.