RALEIGH, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Even without Rashad McCants, North Carolina couldn't be slowed down by its Tobacco Road rival.
Raymond Felton led five players in double figures with 21 points and Melvin Scott hit some opportune 3-pointers as second-ranked North Carolina shot down Atlantic Coast Conference enemy North Carolina State, 81-71.
McCants, suffering from what team doctor's termed an intestinal disorder, did not make the trip and his return is undetermined. But Scott, who hadn't hit a shot from the arc in his last four games, stepped into the starting lineup and knocked down four in eight attempts for 12 points.
The senior hit a 3-pointer with 5:08 left in the opening 20 minutes to give the Tar Heels a 28-26 lead, their first advantage in over seven minutes, and his third shot from the arc as time expired to push North Carolina's lead to 38-33 at the break.
Scott started the second half with a 3-pointer and Carolina pushed the lead to 49-39 seven minutes in on Sean May's short jumper.
But the Wolf Pack responded on a 3-pointer by Engin Atsur and two shots from the arc and a three-point play from Andrew Brackman to close within 53-50 with 10 1/2 minutes left.
Felton then stepped up and hit a pair of 3-pointers, May dunked and Jawad Williams knocked down a shot from the arc as North Carolina rebuilt a 64-52 lead with just under eight to play. NC State got no closer than seven thereafter.
North Carolina (23-3, 11-2 ACC) shot 49 percent (26-of-53) from the field and knocked down 10-of-21 3-pointers to move one game ahead of Wake Forest atop the ACC standings.
Felton shot 6-of-13 and added seven assists against no turnovers. Jawad Williams scored 15 and May and Marvin Williams chipped in 14 apiece for the Tar Heels, who won their fourth straight and ninth in their last 10 games. With 12 rebounds, May recorded his fifth straight double-double.
Julius Hodge scored 20 points and Atsur added 14 as North Carolina State (15-11, 5-8) had its two-game winning streak snapped in an attempt to get back into NCAA Tournament contention. The Wolfpack shot 45 percent (24-of-53) but were outrebounded, 33-23.