UNC 103 Clemson 93 (2OT)

Does anyone remember the Florida State game?

Where to begin?

How about Tyler Freaking Hansbrough who willed this team to win. I know that some of the rival fan bases have made light of that concept but how else would you describe it? 39 points, 13 rebounds and with UNC up three in the second overtime Tyler Hansbrough playing about 40 feet from the basket gets a hand in to knock the ball away from Clemson’s David Potter then dives on the floor after the ball and gets fouled by Potter leading to a pair of free throws that made it a five point game to virtually put it away. And while I am biased let me say I don’t care what Kevin Love is doing at UCLA, Michael Beasley at Kansas State or anyone else in the country. Hansbrough is the national player of the year, period.

As for the game. UNC did about as much wrong as they could do, especially in the first half. The Heels came out of the gate turning the ball over and still unable to hit shots. The Heels had 13 first half turnovers, shot under 40% and was probably fortunate to only be down 11 at the break. Matters only improved slightly in the second half with UNC getting to back to six points but UNC simply could not stop Cliff Hammonds(playing the role of Sam Cassell) from hitting shots. At one point Hammonds drove right down the middle of the lane in the half court to get a layup which put Clemson up 14 with eight minutes left. Even down to three minutes left UNC was trailing by eleven and hope was fleeting. That is when Roy broke out a bottle of The Magic of Carmichael which was last seen on the UNC bench with three minutes to go against Duke in 2005. At this point, Danny Green decided to show up hitting two threes amid more Hansbrough being Hansbrough and it was Quentin Thomas driving in for the game tying layup to get the game to OT. In the two OTs is was all on Hansbrough who had 13 of the 21 Tar Heel points after regulation. Even above that, UNC stepped up to play defense and all of this without Marcus Ginyard on the floor after he left with a tweaked ankle. Hammonds who lit the Heels up was scoreless after the three with 1:20 left to give Clemson a five point lead. That left Clemson relying on other players who seemed to be in the habit of hitting shots despite UNC playing tremendous defense. Take for example the Terence Oglesby lean in three on Ellington with one second on the shot clock. While Clemson continued to shot fairly well(48%) in the second half, UNC limited the three point looks after the break and also forced 11 Tiger turnovers to turn the tide of the game. The Heels went the final 30 minutes of the game only committing seven turnovers themselves after giving the ball away in the first half.

And as for the question in my post from last night, let me say that we found Wayne Ellington and he answered the bell after starting the game 0-4. From that point Ellington went 9-18 the rest of the way including 5-9 from three point range. Danny Green was not great all game but when it was on the line he hit the two big threes to bring UNC all the way back. But enough cannot be said about the play of Quentin Thomas. Due to the injury to Marcus Ginyard, Thomas was the only serviceable point guard UNC had and he did not disappoint playing the 2nd half and two overtimes while committing only two tunovers. All totaled Thomas had six points, nine assists and five TOs in 45 minutes for a guy who is nowhere near used to playing 45 minutes. Thomas also had the big drive and shot to tie the game at 82 followed by a solid defensive effort. He then stepped up and hit two free throws to tie the game at 90 in the first OT. And while getting Ty Lawson back as soon as possible is paramount I think the gap between the two has been significantly reduced. I am confident in Thomas subbing in for Lawson 7-10 minutes per game when the latter returns now.

At any rate, I will take it. Clemson did everything they needed to do for 37 minutes in this game to break the long streak but over the final three minutes of regulation and ten minutes of OT, the Tigers were outscored 35-14 by a UNC team that found their confidence and toughness at exactly the right moment. It was a great performance by Clemson but in the end UNC pulled out another classic comeback win at home. After three plus halves of basketball versus Duke and Clemson, UNC somehow found a way to become the team we all thought they were just in time to stun Clemson and keep pace with Duke and also keep pace in the race for a #1 seed considering UCLA dropped one versus Washington earlier. Now UNC needs to get back up and take care of Virginia in Charlottesville, most likely without Ty Lawson who Roy said after this game that Lawson would likely not play versus UVa. But even if that is the case, it is my highest hope that the Heels found themselves during this furious comeback win and it carries over until 11:30 PM on April 7th.

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11 Responses to UNC 103 Clemson 93 (2OT)

  1. Joe in Toronto says:

    The Heels stepped up thankfully…better late than never and I hope this bodes well for the next few games as Ginyard may be out of action as well. GO HEELS!!!!

  2. MDtarheelfan says:

    Great win. I did not think we had it in us to pull that one out. The players stepped up and made the plays. But I don’t think this is the game the Heels run with for the rest of the season. The last two games has really exposed some serve weaknesses. Defense. The high pick kills the Heels. We were picking our own men. They can not stop dribble penetration. Too many open shots for the opponent. Why is Thompson and Stevenson guarding their man out near the three point line. When there is dribble penetration why is there not help. Rebound. Get a rebound. Offense. Too much one on one. Better passing. Turnovers. The Heels are much better team when they do not turnover the ball. See first and second half. Green needs to stay in control. Ellington should not force his shot so much. Thompson disappears in the second half.
    The rally and win was great but this was Clemson. Clemson is not a great team. They stepped up last night until they blew the late lead, but I have seen that alot with Clemson and their coach. They don’t win many BIG games. Some have written the Heels fought back against Dook to cut the game to 5. Dook never gave up the lead. They were always in control.
    Until Lawson returns and the team starts to gel again I think the rest of the ACC schedule will be a struggle. That first half last night makes me worried. The hairs on my back raiseswhen I think about future opponents taking advantage of the mistakes made by the Heels in that first half.

  3. […] fun in the last 13 minutes of that one! The expectations had dropped so low that it felt great to barely beat Clemson at home. Something to remember as we mover forward, […]

  4. Tar Heel alum and fan says:

    Until this team discovers how to play defense for an entire game they will struggle but against Clemson they may have started turning things around. Hansbrough was incredible, Ellington steady and providing big outside shots to keep UNC close and Green stepped up when he needed to. In some ways forcing Quentin Thomas into this very difficult situation may bode well for the future, as once Lawson gets back Q’s progression as a solid point guard will have been greatly accelerated.

  5. Stuart Crampton says:

    Any word on Ginyard? It appears our Achilles Heel is our penchant for ankle injuries!

  6. Andy says:

    THF, you asked “Does anyone remember THE Florida St game?”

    I don’t think they do. I was at the game and watched a fair number of people heading for the door at the 4 minute time out. Where are you going? Is your roast going to burn? It kills me that folks shell out big $$$ to the Ram’s club or a scalper to sit on their hands and then turn it in early. What would they be screaming if Tyler Hansbrough was 15 minutes late to the game? Or if Roy walked out with 3 minutes left on the clock? Carolina was able to come back in this game in part due to the intensity of the crowd – you could tell the Clemson players were tighter down the stretch. RPI weights road wins more because home court advantage is a real factor. So do your part! Those that left early deserve it; hopefully they’ll remember this next time they think about getting to bed a little earlier…

  7. Dan Schwind says:

    Remember that post you had about what would be the “game of destiny” for the Heels if they end up winning it all this year, THF? Well, if they go on a tear, this could very well be that game. That said, I’m still going to knock on wood before they head to Charlottesville.

  8. Tar Heel Fan says:

    Yes, the game of destiny cross my mind last night. The players need to seize upon this as an opportunity to get the ball rolling. It is possible we could look back at the final three mins of regulation as the moment when they “got it” and stepped up the level of basketball to national title caliber. I think the same could be said of the 11-0 run on Duke in 2005 though UNC had been playing great prior to that game.

  9. william says:

    I don’t think people are giving Clemson enough credit. I sure do not want to play them again this year. Match-ups create great games and Clemson matches up very well with us. If Clemson could shoot free throws at all, Carolina would have two more defeats this year.

  10. Tar Heel Fan says:

    Agreed. Beating a team three times in tough enough but trying to beat one that lost in the fashion Clemson lost would be a nightmare. Of course if the ACCT started today we would end up with the winner of Wake-FSU and assuming they win MD in the semifinals. And while we are here, I cannot be the only one to hope #1 Duke would get Clemson in the semifinals. Then again that is all wild and crazy speculation we can do without right now.

  11. Andy In Omaha says:

    This game against Virginia scares me; just in case Ginyard isn’t able to rolll, who are we going to put on ean Singletary? He’s single-handedly kept the Cavaliers in games and even willed them to wins.

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