An amazing shooting display in the second half got Clemson back into the game with North Carolina Tuesday night at the Smith Center, but the Tigers couldn’t combine enough makes with enough stops to end their lifelong Chapel Hill drought. The winless streak is now at 59 following an 87-79 loss, Clemson’s closest at the Smith Center since a 10 point defeat in 2011.
The Tigers trailed by 15 at halftime and missed their first shot of the second half, then hit a mind-boggling 15 straight shots from the floor. The Tigers didn’t miss from the 18:45 mark when Elijah Thomas made a layup until the 5:30 mark when David Skara missed a three pointer. Marcquise Reed led the assault with 15 points.
The Tigers were within five at that point and two free throws by Reed following a turnover made it 69-66. But Luke Maye scored five straight points to give the Tar Heels a 74-66 lead and the Tigers never got closer than four the rest of the way.
The Tigers cooled off considerably after their hot second half run but still finished at 61.3% for the half. The problem was they couldn’t get enough stops. The Tar Heels shot 64.3% for the half and 14-18 from the line. The Tar Heels also made 15 of 31 three pointers. They had 23 assists on their 26 baskets and had 5 score in double figures.
Reed led four Clemson double digit scorers with 21 points. Shelton Mitchell added 18 and Thomas had 16 before fouling out. Cameron Johnson, the grad transfer from Pitt, led the Tar Heels with 21 points including 6 three pointers.
Clemson is now 15-3 and 4-2 in the ACC and returns home Saturday afternoon to face Notre Dame.
Brad Brownell post game press conference
Shelton Mitchell media session