North Carolina beats Clemson 80-61
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) – No matter what happens for the rest of North Carolina’s up-and-down season, the Tar Heels can still say they’ve never lost to Clemson at home.
As for whether Sunday’s win amounts to anything more, coach Roy Williams said that depends on whether his team keeps showing the same kind of effort they used to extend the Tigers’ misery in Chapel Hill.
James Michael McAdoo scored 22 points in the Tar Heels’ 80-61 win, improving UNC 57-0 all-time against Clemson at home – an NCAA record for the longest home winning streak against one opponent.
The Tar Heels (12-7, 2-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) played with more energy and aggressiveness than during their recent struggles, shooting 55 percent and leading by 31 points in the second half.
For Williams, it was another example of what can happen when his team plays with intensity and enthusiasm he’s been trying to consistently draw out of them.
“I’m going to try to keep emphasizing it, screaming, stomping, whatever it takes,” Williams said. “But they’ve got to bring it. When they do that, we’ve got a chance to be a good team.”
The Tar Heels hadn’t played since Monday’s loss at Virginia, which dropped them to 1-4 in the conference for just the second time in program history. And with the Tigers owning a win against Duke this month that helped them to their best start in league play in 17 years, it certainly appeared Clemson (13-6, 4-3) had one of its better chances to end a streak that endured even through the Tar Heels’ 8-20 season in 2002.
And yet Sunday’s game turned out exactly like all the others.
The Tar Heels played aggressively, were quick to the floor for loose balls, shot the ball well against the Tigers’ physical defense and controlled the boards.
“We didn’t change anything with Xs and Os,” said Marcus Paige, who scored 13 of his 15 in the second half. “When you watch the game, we just played harder. We got 50-50 balls, we valued the basketball a little bit better and we just played hard. You’ve got to look at that and see it’s a positive feeling around the locker room right now. Why wouldn’t you want to do that every game instead of having a letup?”
McAdoo in particular led that effort, at one point finishing while being fouled then immediately giving a high-five to a courtside fan. He finished 9-for-13 from the field to go with seven rebounds.
Little went right for the Tigers, who shot 34 percent and flirted with their all-time worst shooting percentage under fourth-year coach Brad Brownell before hitting some shots late with the outcome decided.
Clemson has lost two straight blowouts, including Monday’s 76-43 loss at Pittsburgh, after a 4-1 ACC start was the program’s best since 1996-97. Things won’t get easier with the Tigers in a stretch of playing five of six on the road, including at second-ranked and unbeaten Syracuse.
“Our guys have got to dig their heels back in,” Brownell said. “We’ve got to fight a little harder, we’ve got to execute a little better, and we’ve got to get more loose balls, rebounds – just little things that happen at home for us where we use our crowd to help us. On the road we haven’t done that in either game this week.”
K.J. McDaniels scored 13 to lead Clemson, which at one point went nearly an entire half-worth of basketball – 18 minutes, 50 seconds – with one field goal. The Tigers missed 10 of 11 shots to close the first half, then missed their first seven shots after halftime to trail 54-23 before Rod Hall connected on a corner 3-pointer at the 13:07 mark.
“Since the beginning of the game, we didn’t have our defensive edge,” Clemson’s Landry Nnoko said. “We beat teams by playing defense. If that doesn’t happen, there’s no way we can stay in the game.”
NC State beats Ga Tech 80-78 on Warren’s OT jumper
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – With the game on the line, everybody knew North Carolina State wanted the ball in T.J. Warren’s hands.
And nobody could stop the ACC’s top scorer when it counted most.
Warren’s contested, running jumper with 6.2 seconds left in overtime lifted N.C. State past Georgia Tech 80-78 on Sunday.
Warren, who enters averaging a league-leading 22 points, finished with 20 in his first game back from an ankle injury.
Warren “had to take a tough shot. A runner (from) 12 feet, going away from the basket, over a defender, isn’t an easy shot,” Tech coach Brian Gregory said. “And that’s why he’s the leading scorer in the league right now.”
The Wolfpack (13-7, 3-4) trailed by 11 with under 16 minutes to play before rallying for their second straight win.
Daniel Miller scored a career-high 21 points for Georgia Tech (11-9, 2-5).
The Yellow Jackets had one last chance after Ralston Turner missed two free throws with 2.5 seconds remaining.
Kammeon Holsey took the full-court inbounds pass and flipped the ball to Chris Bolden – whose 30-footer from the left wing was on line but bounced off the iron.
“It looked good when it left his hand,” Warren said. “Just glad he missed it.”
Turner had 12 points, Desmond Lee added 11 and Tyler Lewis scored all 10 of his in the second half for N.C. State, which rallied from 11 down in the second half to beat Maryland last Monday night – a game Warren missed due to injury.
“One thing with our group, boy, they’ve got a lot of resolve,” coach Mark Gottfried said. “There’s just not a lot of pouting. It’s a fun group in that regard. And that gives them a chance.”
Trae Golden finished with 18 points for the Yellow Jackets, who have lost five of seven.
They had the ball in the final minute of OT with the score tied at 78 but N.C. State’s Jordan Vandenberg stole Holsey’s overthrown pass into the post with about 35 seconds left.
The Wolfpack called a timeout with 30.6 seconds remaining and milked most of the clock before Warren cut across the lane and knocked down a jumper over two Georgia Tech defenders.
“We executed it perfectly off the high post,” Warren said. “I got off the screen, and the ball was right there, and I hit the shot.”
The Yellow Jackets then hurried downcourt but Lee drew a charging foul on Golden with 2.5 seconds left.
“I never thought they’d call that at that time,” Golden said. “I felt like I let my team down in that situation. They look to me to make those plays.”
Turner was then fouled on the inbounds pass for N.C. State.
Quinton Stephens scored a career-high 13 points and Marcus Georges-Hunt added 13 more for Georgia Tech, which could’ve won it in regulation.
Lee tied it at 72 for N.C. State when he put back Warren’s missed drive with 22.5 seconds left.
The Yellow Jackets called a timeout with 16.1 seconds left to set their offense but Golden’s kickout 3 with about a second left failed to draw iron.
“He’s made a lot of big shots for us – in that same spot, to be honest with you,” Gregory said. “He’s been our go-to guy for a long time – this whole year, basically – so getting the ball in his hands was something we wanted to do.”
Miller surpassed his previous high of 20 points, set two months ago against Dayton, for Georgia Tech. His jumper from the elbow with just under 16 minutes left made it 52-41.
But behind consecutive 3-pointers about 40 seconds apart by Lewis, the Wolfpack clawed back in it.
Lewis later knocked down a jumper in traffic with 9 minutes left to pull the Wolfpack to 57-56, and Lee’s up-and-under layup 2 minutes later gave N.C. State its first lead since midway through the first half at 62-61.
“The two 3-pointers (by Lewis) were absolutely huge at that time in the game,” Gottfried said. “They energized us as much as anything.”