Tar Heels lose their third straight game as Tigers drain 3s

North Carolina lost its third straight game as Clemson broke a 10-game losing streak to the Tar Heels as the Tigers drained 15 threes on the way to an 82-78 victory. (1/30) Clemson, which averages eight three pointers a game, hit 10 in the first half on its way to a 16-point halftime lead at 44-28. Carolina got back in it with a 13-1 run which pulled the Tar Heels within three at 52-49 with 11:19 left. It looked as if it might get closer than that but UNC’s Brandon Robinson, who was fouled shooting a three, could manage only […]

North Carolina lost its third straight game as Clemson broke a 10-game losing streak to the Tar Heels as the Tigers drained 15 threes on the way to an 82-78 victory. (1/30)

Clemson, which averages eight three pointers a game, hit 10 in the first half on its way to a 16-point halftime lead at 44-28.

Carolina got back in it with a 13-1 run which pulled the Tar Heels within three at 52-49 with 11:19 left. It looked as if it might get closer than that but UNC’s Brandon Robinson, who was fouled shooting a three, could manage only one of three free throws.

The Tigers stretched the lead back up 10 at 70-60 with 5:53 left before the Heels went on another run. Joel Berry led a 14-4 run capped by a short jumper in the lane which tied it at 74-all with 2:02 left.

But Clemson lived by the three as Marcquis Reed drained an open shot with 1:40 left to give the lead back to the Tigers for good at 77-74. Following an ill-advised off-balanced shot by UNC’s Cam Johnson, Elijah Thomas scored inside at the other end to give Clemson a five-point cushion with 28 seconds left.

Berry hit a long step-back two that kept Carolina in with 16 seconds left but Clemson, who went to the line an amazing 27 times, hit free throws to wrap it up.

Johnson was brilliant most of the game as he ended with a career-high 32 points while Berry had 27. Luke Maye, who normally leads the scoring, scored just four points on the night, shooting just one shot in the second half.

“Joel and Cam, that was our offense,” UNC coach Roy Williams said. “Our team is best when it’s four, five or six guys scoring.”

But it was the Tigers hitting half of their three-point shots that most concerns Coach Williams. “I’ve got no answers,” Coach Williams said about his team’s inability to defend the three-point line. “I’ve never emphasized something more in my entire life.”

The Tar Heels, who play at home Saturday night against Pittsburgh, fall to 16-7 and 5-5 in the league while Clemson falls to 18-4 overall and 7-3 in the ACC.

UNC’s Theo Pinson, who didn’t score, injured his shoulder and hip on a bad fall in the first half and did not return. The injury is not believed to be serious. What is serious are supposed coming charges against Jalek Felton, who has been suspended from the school. With Seven Woods still out injured, the reeling Tar Heels are shorthanded.

For a box score and more on the game, please click here.