North Carolina beats Clemson 80-61
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP)
Marcus Paige added 15 points for the Tar Heels (12-7, 2-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) in a dominating performance. North Carolina played with more energy and aggressiveness than during its recent struggles, shooting 55 percent for the game and turning a 37-21 halftime lead into a 31-point margin by midway through the second half.
With the win, North Carolina improved to 57-0 all-time against Clemson (13-6, 4-3) at home, an NCAA record for the longest home winning streak against one opponent. The Tar Heels have also won 16 of 17 meetings overall.
K.J. McDaniels had 13 points 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.
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 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. McAdoo turned in his best scoring performance in nearly a month, finishing through contact for a three-point play at one point in the second half and immediately giving a high-five to a courtside fan.
Paige got loose for 13 points and hit three 3-pointers in the second half as UNC turned the game into a romp.
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.
The Tigers got off to a solid start with five baskets in the first 8 minutes, the last coming on Jaron Blossomgame's tip-in with 11:57 left that cut UNC's early lead to 14-11.
The Tigers then went nearly an entire half-worth of basketball - 18 minutes, 50 seconds - with just one field goal. The Tigers missed 10 of 11 shots to close the half, then missed their first seven shots of the second half.
By then, the Tar Heels had long since used a 10-1 spurt to build a double-digit lead. That margin grew steadily, reaching 54-23 before Rod Hall connected on a corner 3-pointer at the 13:07 mark for Clemson's first second-half basket.
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