Thursday, January 14, 2010

TIGERS, TURNOVERS TOO MUCH FOR TAR HEELS

North Carolina's team bus got hit by a car in the parking lot prior to Wednesday night's game. When the buzzer sounded a few hours later, the Tar Heels got run over by a truck full of Tigers.

Demontez Stitt (#2) had 20 points, Trevor Booker (#35) scored 21 and the 24th-ranked Tigers (14-3, 2-1 ACC) broke a 10-game losing streak to North Carolina with an overwhelming victory Wednesday night.

Besides their first loss to Clemson since 2004, this was the Tar Heels (12-5, 1-1) most lopsided ACC loss since a 96-56 defeat to Maryland in 2003. The Tigers simply overwhelmed the Heels in the first half scoring on many of UNC’s 16 turnovers and outscoring the Heels from behind the three-point-line 21-0.

Game over.

The two played it almost even 33-32 in the second half, but Clemson’s intensity and toughness was impressive in an early statement win.

North Carolina starters combined for just 12 field goals. Its two leading scorers, Deon Thompson and Ed Davis, managed a combined eight points--more than 20 fewer than they averaged in prior games. Those two were virtually invisible in the first half.

The Tar Heels ended with 26 turnovers, matching the most committed in coach Roy Williams' seven seasons.

"I'm not feeling good about the job I'm doing right now," Williams said.

The Tigers hadn't beaten the Tar Heels in nearly six years, but used a first-half blitz to lead by 23 points and held on against one of their toughest ACC opponents.

Stitt hit Clemson's first two baskets during and Booker had a three-point play to close a 17-6 opening run less than five minutes into the game. Carolina got it down to twelve late in the second-half but missed four shots and point blank range and were then called for basket interference to end their comeback attempt.

Other than turnovers, the stats were fairly even. Shooting percentage, three-point percentage, personal fouls and blocked shots were virtually identical. Clemons committed 12 fewer turnovers, and the Heels had a 38-30 rebounding edge. Clemson won the intangible battle by a mile.

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