Fifth-ranked North Carolina came from six points behind in the last 10 minutes caught Wake Forest with five minutes left and beat the Deacons in the Atlantic Coast Conference tonight, 77-75.
Key play came with 9-38 left and Wake leading, 64-58. Senior guard Skip Brown, Whose shooting and playmaking had put the Deacons in front, was called for charging, his fourth personal foul.
With Brown on the bench, the Demon Deacons, who had moved up to seventh in the national polls after their victory at Maryland on Saturday, lost their zest. Tar Heel guards Phil Ford and John Kuester caught fire from the outside, and Kuester's 15-foot jump shot with 4:37 left, last UNC field goal of the game, put Carolina in front for good 74-73.
Brown, who had returned to the game, missed a jump shot on Wake's next possession and Heel coach Dean Smith called for the four-corner offense. Carolina did not score off the spread but traded two Tommy LaGarade free throws and a Walter Davis foul shot for a Larry Harrison layup and Jerry Schellenberg's turnover on Wake's last chance to tie.
Carolina raised its ACC record to 3-0 and its overall mark to 11-1; Wake Forest fell to 2-1 and 11-2.
"We really missed Skip," a dejected Deacon coach Carl Tacy said. "We put Frank Johnson on the point and he had played sparinglly and it showed. We probably should have put Skip back in earlier but we wanted to be sure we had him at the end."
Brown was in at the end, but it didn't help. Tracy called time out with six second left after Davis made one of two free throws to stretch the lend to 77-75.
Schellenberg in-bounded to Brown after the time out and he drove the middle and tried to slip the ball to Schellenberg. But the bulky senior forward failed to handle the pass and Tom Zaligaries picked it up and tossed it to midcourt as time ran out.
"We wanted to try and get two or three passes although we know they would have ot bequick," Tacy said. "If we had it do over again I don't think we would put the ball on the floor, but . . ." He shrugged.
"I just dropped it," said Schellenberg, who finished with 17 points, one less than Brown, who also had eight assist. "Skip did everything right and I dropped it. They were on me, but I would have had a shot."
Center Tommy LaGarde led the Tar Heels with 22 points.
Ford, held to four points at intermission, finished with 20. A total of 41 fouls were called.