North Carolina 80, Clemson 69

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Marcus Paige scored 18 points to help No. 7 North Carolina beat Clemson 80-69 on Wednesday night in its Atlantic Coast Conference opener, extending the Tigers' long run of futility in Chapel Hill.

Box Score

Joel Berry II added 16 points for the Tar Heels (12-2, 1-0 ACC), who led 37-30 at halftime and by 16 in the second half before turning away the Tigers' last best push.

North Carolina improved to 58-0 all-time against Clemson at home, an NCAA record for most consecutive home wins against one opponent. And this marked the 26th time in 28 meetings that the Tar Heels extended that streak with a double-digit margin of victory.

Jaron Blossomgame scored 15 points to lead the Tigers (7-6, 0-1), who scored the first six points and led for most of the first 7½ minutes only to see this one end up like all the other visits to UNC.

The Tar Heels turned in what has become their routine offensive performance, shooting 50 percent and putting five players in double figures. Paige led that effort with an 8-for-12 shooting performance, while the Tar Heels got huge lifts from Isaiah Hicks and Theo Pinson on a night when leading scorer Brice Johnson had a quiet performance amid foul trouble.

Hicks finished with 14 points and six rebounds before fouling out in the final minute, while Pinson scored 13 on 5-for-5 shooting — including 3-for-3 from behind the arc — to go with six rebounds of his own.

Clemson got consecutive 3-pointers from Gabe DeVoe to cut the deficit to 63-57 with 7:17 left, but the Tar Heels used a small lineup and responded with a run of six straight scoring possessions.

Pinson's 3-pointer and Hicks' tough shot in the lane over Sidy Djitte highlighted the burst that pushed the lead back to double figures and kept the Tar Heels in firm control.

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TIP-INS

UNC: Johnson finished with three points on 1-for-8 shooting. ... Junior forward Kennedy Meeks missed his fifth straight game due to a bone bruise in his left knee. It's unclear exactly when he will return. ... UNC took a 38-29 rebounding advantage and scored 19 points off turnovers.

UP NEXT

UNC hosts Georgia Tech on Saturday.


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