The North Carolina basketball team picked up a big win on Saturday at home against NC State basketball. With the win, the Tar Heels maintained their first place mark in the ACC. There are only two games remaining for North Carolina, and they currently hold a one-game lead on rival Duke. The Tar Heels and Wolfpack are also rivals, and things got intense on Saturday.

NC State basketball had North Carolina basketball on the ropes in the first half as they led by eight at the break, but the Tar Heels dominated in the second half. They outscored the Wolfpack by 17 points, and that led to a 79-70 win. The game got chippy in the second half, and that helped fuel the Tar Heels.

I don’t mind chippy,” North Carolina head coach Hubert Davis said after the game, according to an article from 247 Sports. “There was nothing happening there. I played in the 90s where a fight could break out and you could still play. That was nothing. … I just felt like in this particular game that chippiness ignited us even more. We talked about, you know, having that competitive fire but also keeping your composure and I felt like we did that.”

North Carolina is a competitive team, and Hubert Davis thinks that is why his team gained an edge when the competition got tougher. The team gets competitive in practice, and it translates over to the games.

“Well, our guys from the start have always enjoyed competition and competing,” Davis continued. “Our practices are spirited, they're competitive, physical, and that's the way that this group has played in practice all season. So what you saw out there at the game, that's what I see every day at practice, so that was not out of character when we do that out there on the floor. And in order to hold them to 22 percent in the second half, as good as NC State is, as gifted as they are especially on the offensive end, that was an elite performance by the guys defensively.”

One player in particular that does well in physical, competitive games like that is Harrison Ingram. Ingram had 22 points for the Tar Heels and led all scorers.

“He does,” Davis said when he was asked if Ingram feeds off of physical games. “Harrison was Harrison today. Having a guy on your team that as soon as he walks into the locker room, everyone's just smiling and laughing. His personality just lifts people up. And then on the court, he just changes. He's a guy that can guard multiple positions, he can rebound, he can post up, he can hit 3s, offensive rebound, make free throws and he adds another ball handler for us. So with the pressure we can give him the ball, and he can bring it up and initiate offense. And you never have to tell Harrison, ‘let's play hard.’ He just instinctively in anything, practice, shoot around or obviously a game, brings tremendous energy for us and it fueled us today.”

At this point in the season, it's not easy to win games. Everybody is competing at the highest level, and any win is a good win. This was big for North Carolina.

“Every game is competitive for us,” Davis said. “This is what is required to win games. It would be nice to win every game by 50, but that's not life. You're going to have to work, you're going to have to compete, you're going to have to prepare, you're going to have to practice and it's going to have to translate on game day. And that's what our guys are doing, and they've done that all season. So we knew coming into this game, how talented NC State was and we knew what kind of game it was going to be. And I was just happy with the response in the second half, especially on the defensive end. The crowd was amazing. I mean, there's just something, it's all they're always great, but Saturday afternoon ACC games in a Smith Center it's even better than great. It’s like magical. And so the crowd really helped us today.”

North Carolina basketball will have one more very chippy game next weekend as they will take on Duke on the road. The ACC championship will likely be on the line.