Same old, same old: UNC throttles Clemson

Jan. 27, 2014 @ 06:13 AM

James Michael McAdoo finished a drive through contact and then high-fived a fan in the front row.

J.P. Tokoto saved a ball from going out-of-bounds by flipping it behind his back, leading to a fast-break lay-up by Leslie McDonald.

North Carolina has turned home games against Clemson into celebrations ever since the Tigers first traveled to Chapel Hill in 1926, and despite the Tar Heels’ struggles this season, Sunday night would be no exception.

UNC shot 55.4 percent against the nation’s top scoring defense and held the Tigers to one field goal in a span of almost 19 minutes in an 80-61 win that dropped Clemson to 0-57 all-time against the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill.

After starting 1-4 in the ACC for only the second time in the conference’s 60-year history, UNC (12-7, 2-4) turned things around against the Tigers with its effort.

Coach Roy Williams said his main focus in practice since the Tar Heels’ loss at Virginia on Monday was getting his team to play with a sense of urgency.

“It’s like the stock market, you can’t make money if you don’t invest,” Williams said. “(In) basketball you can’t get success unless you really invest. If you go in (the locker room), every one of them will tell you this was our best game in a long time of how hard we played.”

Point guard Marcus Paige said that the team also watched clips from the team’s non-conference wins over Louisville, Michigan State and Kentucky to see the effort plays that led to those upsets early in the season and to build the group’s confidence.

Clemson (13-6, 4-3) came in allowing teams to score just 54.8 points per game on 37.2 percent shooting, but it gave up a season-high 80 points Sunday as UNC had its most accurate shooting performance since the season opener against Oakland.

“We didn’t change anything Xs and Os,” Paige said. “When you watch the game we just played harder. We got 50/50 balls, we valued the ball a little bit better, and we just played hard.”

McAdoo led the effort with 22 points on 9 of 13 shooting, while Paige had 13 of his 15 points in the second half and added five assists. Freshman center Kennedy Meeks, who made his third start, had 11 points and game-highs of eight rebounds and three blocks in a career-high 26 minutes.

UNC’s slow start in league play, combined with Clemson’s highly-ranked defense, led some to think that this was the year that the longest home winning streak against one opponent in Division I history would come to an end. But that streak was never in doubt Sunday as Clemson lost at UNC by double-digits for the 25th time in the last 27 meetings.

“At the end of the day we just had to have pride and realize that every time we step out there we’re not only representing ourselves, but also the school and all the guys that came before us,” McAdoo said.

The tone was set by the junior forward, who was the first of many Tar Heels to dive on the court for a loose ball and gain possession. He also outscored Clemson 15-7 during a 13-minute stretch midway through the game.

“Overall you saw effort everywhere,” Paige said. “On the backboards, guys tipping the ball, guys diving for it. Even though it doesn’t seem like it means a lot, it’s a really big part of the game.”

UNC held Clemson to one field goal in the final 11:57 of the first half to head into the break with a 37-21 lead, and then outscored the Tigers 17-2 to start the second half to go up by 31.

As a result, the Tar Heels beat a team with a winning record for the first time since Dec. 14 against Kentucky. The next step will be to replicate that performance and that sense of urgency for the rest of the season, starting Wednesday at Georgia Tech (7 p.m., ESPN2).

“We’ve gotta be able to do that every night,” Williams said. “We have no chance if we don’t do that. I’ve had some teams that were very gifted that could win without their best effort, but this is a team that really needs to have that maximum effort.”

  

 

NORTH CAROLINA 80, CLEMSON 61

 

FG

FT

Reb

CLEMSON

Min

M-A

M-A

O-T

A

PF

PTS

McDaniels

32

4-12

5-6

5-9

2

2

13

Smith

13

0-2

0-0

1-1

0

3

0

Nnoko

29

4-6

4-5

2-3

0

2

12

Harrison

21

0-5

5-6

1-2

1

1

5

Hall

31

2-8

0-0

0-0

2

1

6

Blossomgame

12

1-3

1-2

2-4

0

2

3

Djitte

14

0-2

0-0

3-6

0

2

0

Filer

16

3-6

3-4

0-1

2

2

12

Roper

16

0-3

1-2

0-1

0

1

1

Djambo

7

1-2

0-0

0-1

0

2

3

Ajukwa

6

2-3

0-0

1-1

0

1

4

Fields

3

1-1

0-0

0-0

0

0

2

Totals

200

18-53

19-25

16-31

7

19

61

Percentages: FG .340, FT .760.

3-Point Goals: 6-15, .400 (Filer 3-4, Hall 2-3, Djambo 1-2, Harrison 0-1, Roper 0-1, McDaniels 0-4).

Team Rebounds: 2.

Blocked Shots: 4 (Nnoko 2, McDaniels 2).

Turnovers: 10 (McDaniels 6, Roper 2, Hall).

Steals: 3 (McDaniels 2, Roper).

Technical Fouls: None.

 

FG

FT

Reb

NORTH CAROLINA

Min

M-A

M-A

O-T

A

PF

PTS

Tokoto

29

2-3

0-0

1-7

4

3

4

McAdoo

31

9-13

4-10

3-7

2

2

22

Meeks

26

5-9

1-4

5-8

1

2

11

McDonald

29

4-7

2-2

0-1

2

2

12

Paige

33

5-11

2-2

1-2

5

1

15

Britt

16

2-3

0-0

0-1

2

2

5

Johnson

13

1-4

1-1

1-5

0

3

3

James

5

0-1

0-0

2-2

1

3

0

Hicks

6

1-2

0-0

0-0

0

1

2

Hubert

4

0-0

0-0

1-2

0

0

0

Davis

2

0-0

0-0

0-0

1

0

0

Simmons

2

0-0

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

Moody

2

0-1

0-0

0-0

1

0

0

Manor

1

2-2

0-0

0-0

0

0

6

Robinson

1

0-0

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

Totals

200

31-56

10-19

14-37

19

19

80

Percentages: FG .554, FT .526.

3-Point Goals: 8-18, .444 (Paige 3-7, Manor 2-2, McDonald 2-5, Britt 1-2, Moody 0-1, Tokoto 0-1).

Team Rebounds: 2.

Blocked Shots: 6 (Meeks 3, Johnson, Hubert, McAdoo).

Turnovers: 12 (Britt 3, McAdoo 2, Meeks 2, Tokoto, Paige, James, Johnson).

Steals: 5 (Britt 2, Meeks, Paige, Tokoto).

Technical Fouls: None.

Clemson

21

40—61

North Carolina

37

43—80

A_18,616.

Officials_Karl Hess, Jamie Luckie, Tim Nestor.