Second year Clemson coach Brad Brownell made his first trip with the Tigers to Chapel Hill Saturday afternoon. And like the 14 Clemson coaches before him, Brownell could not manufacture a win. The Tigers fell to the 7th ranked Tar Heels 74-52 stretching the nation’s longest visitor’s losing streak to 56 in a row.
The Tigers are now 13-13 and 5-7 in the ACC and saw their two game winning streak end. The Tar Heels improved to 23-4 and 10-2 with their third straight win. North Carolina has won four in a row over the Tigers and 14 of the last 15 meetings, and they now lead the series 126-20.
AUDIO: Brad Brownell post game press conference
For a brief period of the second half, the Tigers did flirt with history. Andre Young hit a long three pointer at the halftime buzzer bot pull Clemson within 31-22. They carried the momentum of that shot into the second half and ninety seconds in the Tigers trailed by just six 33-27.
The Tar Heels did build the lead back up to a dozen at 45-33, but threes by TJ Sapp and Tanner Smith and a fastbreak layup by Smith off a Young steal pulled Clemson to within 47-41 with 11:59 to play.
While thoughts of ending the streak may have flashed thru the minds of Tiger fans, the Tar Heels weren’t about to become infamous in front of their home crowd of nearly 22,000. They weathered the storm thanks to three straight Clemson turnovers and a missed jumper by Young. So, while the Tar Heels didn’t score during that stretch, neither did Clemson.
Clemson’s last hurrah came with 7:42 left as a Young basket made the score 56-47. That would be Clemson’s final bucket of the game. The Tigers missed four shots and had four more turnovers the rest of the way. Clemson had 11 second half turnovers and 15 for the game. North Carolina also blocked seven shots.
John Henson’s basket made it 58-47 and Tyler Zeller then had back to back baskets for the Tar Heels around a pair of Clemson free throws for a 62-49 lead. And the Tar Heels were home free from there.
Young led Clemson with 13 points including three three pointers. He was the only Tiger in double figures as Clemson shot just 37.5% for the game. Four Tar Heels scored in double figures led by Harrison Barnes with 24 points. The Tar Heels shot 58.6% in the second half and finished the game with a 49.2% mark.
The Tar Heels used their length inside for 11 offensive rebounds which they converted into 16 points. The Tar Heels scored 36 of their points in the paint to Clemson’s 22.
Clemson is back in action Tuesday night at Georgia Tech. The Tar Heels also play Tuesday night at NC State.