April 15, 2024

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Harrison Ingram approached Saturday’s rivalry bout against NC State like it was any other game.

He rewatched film on UNC’s defeat of the Wolfpack in Raleigh, N.C., from 52 nights prior, noticing NC State’s tendencies to hard hedge or double-team off ball screens. Then, during the hours leading up to the rematch at the Smith Center, Ingram went through his normal pregame shooting routine, but with a little more emphasis on attempts from 3-point range.

Even after Ingram pumped in a season-high 22 points to help lead Carolina to a 79-70 victory, the heated nature of Saturday’s clash had yet to fully settle and register for the transfer forward.

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“NC State, there’s hatred, they hate us for some reason,” he said. “I still don’t understand the rivalry, but everyone tells me that they hate us and I saw that on the court. They were playing hard, talking a lot of stuff, but at the end of the day we got the win.”

Ingram hauled in a career-best 19 rebounds when UNC won a 67-54 grinder on Jan. 10 at NC State, and it didn’t take him long to affect his presence Saturday in Chapel Hill. UNC teammate RJ Davis found Ingram drifting toward the deep left corner, just in front of the NC State bench, less than three minutes into the game. Ingram let fly and knocked down the early 3-pointer, turning to share a few words with the Wolfpack bench as he ran back on defense.

Shortly thereafter, Ingram slashed into the lane and caught a feed from Elliot Cadeau. Ingram took two power steps to gather himself, before elevating — seemingly climbing higher than usual — and throwing down a big right-handed dunk.

“I feel like I’ve got a lot in my bag that y’all haven’t seen,” Ingram said with a wide smile. “I feel like I’ve lost a lot of weight and I’m just trying to show I’m more athletic, whether that’s dunking or that’s running the floor.”

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