|Larry Drew II|
That said, with Kendall Marshall (for Larry Drew II), Leslie McDonald (for Dexter Strickland) and Justin Knox (for Tyler Zeller) inserted into the Tar Heels’ starting line-up, UNC changed the pattern of their first three ACC games where they fell behind early. This time, North Carolina took care of the basketball in the opening stanza (only 4 turnovers), shot much better (51.4%) and carried a 46-38 lead into the intermission.
The second half wasn’t as pretty. Clemson shot 25% in the face of a stalwart Tar Heel defense that produced eight blocked shots and 10 steals to the Tigers’ seven steals and one block. Carolina wasn’t much more efficient with the basketball committing 10 second-half turnovers while scoring a whopping 29 points.
The key stats of the game were that Clemson only scored 11 points off of the 14 UNC turnovers and then went just one field goal in the final 7:46 of the game. The Tigers did sink ten three-pointers (10-29, 33%) to no avail.
Harrison Barnes continues to improve and last night he hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with about 5 minutes left. Barnes finished with 13 points and six rebounds for the Tar Heels (13-5, 3-1 ACC), who improved to 55-0 all-time against the Tigers in Chapel Hill--an NCAA record for most consecutive home wins against a single opponent. Fellow freshman Reggie Bullock scored 16 of his season-high 18 points in the first half, while John Henson added 14 points.
Both sides have been hearing questions about "The Streak" for years now, though they each continue to brush them off – UNC saying it had to end sometime, Clemson by saying the past doesn't matter to that current team. The Tigers certainly had a chance to silence all those questions for good, tying the game on a 3 from Stitt with about 7 1/2 left to make it 63-63.
But Clemson would score only one more basket and lose yet again in Chapel Hill.
The Tigers chances were further compromised when Tanner Smith left the game with a knee injury in the first half and did not return.