Tigers Fall to North Carolina

The Clemson Tigers started out strong, but then fell to 16th ranked North Carolina 69-53 Tuesday night in Chapel Hill. With the loss, Clemson falls to 10-17 overall and 3-13 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Sharrod Ford led Clemson in scoring with 14 points and 5 rebounds.

Rashad McCants' led the Heels with 30 points, including 8 3-pointers, and Sean May added 17 points for North Carolina, who improved to 50-0 all-time at home against the Tigers.

The loss was the 4th in a row for Clemson, going back to the Virginia game more than two weeks ago.

The start of the game Tuesday night was somewhat promising, as the Tigers stormed ahead 12-8 with just over 11 minutes left in the first half.

Unfortunately, the same problems that have plagued this team most of the year, did so again. Clemson turned the ball over in 7 of its next 10 possessions as a defensive struggle turned into an up-and-down affair.

UNC would go on a 9-1 run to build a lead that was never relinquished.

McCants then drilled a deep three pointer right before halftime to give North Carolina a commanding 26-18 lead.

More turnovers in bunches in the second half proved to be too much to overcome. North Carolina quickly pushed the lead to 14 points following consecutive Clemson turnovers and 6 quick points by the Heels out of the locker room.

The Tigers would close within single digits one more time before a pair of McCants three pointers sealed the deal.

With the loss, the Tigers close out the regular season at 10-17 overall and 3-13 under first year head coach Oliver Purnell.

"I thought our team came out and played hard. We came out ready to play and ready to battle and ready to win," said Purnell after the game. "McCants was just too good. We allowed him to have a couple of easy baskets, he knocks in the shot at the end of the half from about 30-feet, and that was hard for us to overcome. They always seemed to have the answer."

The Tigers next game will be in the play-in game of the ACC tournament next Thursday night.

Clemson (10-17): Ford 6-8 2-4 14, Hobbs 2-7 1-2 5, Babalola 3-10 0-0 8, Christie 1-4 0-0 3, Robinson 4-8 0-0 10, Hamilton 1-3 1-2 4, Akingbala 2-3 0-0 4, Rice 1-5 0-0 2, Hudson 0-0 0-0 0, Shay 1-1 0-0 3, Williams 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-49 4-8 53.

North Carolina (18-8): McLamb 0-0 0-0 0, May 8-12 1-2 17, Miller 0-1 0-0 0, Price 0-2 0-0 0, Felton 3-5 0-0 7, Scott 2-8 0-0 6, McCants 11-19 0-0 30, Williams 3-10 1-2 7, Noel 0-3 0-0 0, Terry 0-0 0-0 0, Holley 1-3 0-0 2, Bohlander 0-0 0-0 0, Sanders 0-0 0-0 0, Hooker 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 28-64 2-4 69.

Halftime — North Carolina 26-18. 3-Point goals — Clemson 7-17 (Babalola 2-5, Robinson 2-5, Hamilton 1-1, Shay 1-1, Christie 1-2, Rice 0-3), North Carolina 11-23 (McCants 8-13, Scott 2-6, Felton 1-1, Williams 0-1, Noel 0-1, Holley 0-1). Fouled out — None. Rebounds — Clemson 34 (Akingbala 8), North Carolina 29 (May 7). Assists — Clemson 11 (Robinson, Hamilton 3), North Carolina 18 (Felton 9). Total fouls — Clemson 12, North Carolina 11. A — 20,818.

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