Bob Donnan/US Presswire
Despite a double-digit deficit, UNC continued Clemson's woes -- this time in 2 OTs -- in Chapel Hill.
Never is a long time, but after the way Clemson lost at North Carolina on Sunday night, it might actually be the answer as to when the Tigers will finally win in Chapel Hill.
The Tar Heels' 103-93 double-overtime triumph dropped Clemson to 0-53 all time as the visitors in this series, setting the NCAA record for guest futility.
And it's hard to imagine any of the previous 52 defeats was harder to swallow. The Tigers dominated almost all of regulation. They forced turnovers by the Ty Lawson
-less Tar Heels in their first five possessions. They got 31 points from Cliff Hammonds
. They had 17 offensive rebounds and made 12 of 27 shots from 3-point range. They led by 11 points with three minutes left.
And lost. Again. In Chapel Hill.
It would be harder to believe if almost the same thing hadn't happened Jan. 6 at Clemson, when the Tigers blew a seven-point lead in the final 2:38 of regulation and were felled by Wayne Ellington
's last-second 3 in overtime. The final that night was 90-88.
On Sunday, for a fleeting second, it seemed as if the basketball gods had a sense of humor. When Clemson freshman Terrence Oglesby
beat the shot clock with an off-balance 3 with 48 seconds left in the first overtime, the scoreboard once again read 90-88, this time in the Tigers' favor. Once again, though, a Tigers lead didn't hold up.
History angle aside, Sunday night was simply about a team (again) executing poorly late in a game it had in the bag
and paying the consequences. Down the stretch of regulation, Clemson had turnovers on three straight trips. The Tigers missed critical free throws. They had the final full possession at the end of regulation and in the first OT and couldn't convert on either.
For its part, Carolina deserves credit for its resilience. The Heels got a magnificent 39-point, 13-rebound effort from Tyler Hansbrough
and 28 points from Ellington. They also enjoyed a massive free-throw advantage (Clemson was just 1-of-7 for the game; Hansbrough himself made 17 of 19), partly thanks to grit and partly because the Heels' defenders often weren't close enough to Clemson's players to foul them on their way to the basket.
And just when you thought Lawson's absence would be the break Clemson needed to snap the streak at last, Quentin Thomas
made a series of big plays. Although his five turnovers were a large factor in the Heels' early offensive disarray, he also made a lot of good happen. He ended the game with nine assists, made a driving layup to send the game into overtime and made two free throws that pushed the game into the second extra session, which Carolina dominated.
Clemson coach Oliver Purnell said after the first excruciating loss that the Tigers would use it as a measuring stick for this season. He probably never thought he would have to measure it against one even more brutal. Another 37 minutes of excellent basketball unraveled in a few moments that lacked poise, execution and luck. Sounds like just another night in Chapel Hill for the Tigers.
By Jason McCallum
• Another day, another impressive performance out of Rider's Jason Thompson
. In Rider's 80-77 loss to Siena on Sunday, Thompson had 26 points and 24 rebounds. It was the third time this season he has had at least 20 points and 20 rebounds in a game. In the past 10 seasons, four other players have had multiple 20-20 games in a season, but Thompson is the only one to do it three times in a single season over that stretch.
• North Carolina's 53-game home winning streak over Clemson is an NCAA Division I record, surpassing Princeton's 52-game home winning streak over Brown. Clemson's first trip to Chapel Hill came on Jan. 15, 1926. That was five years and 44 days before Dean Smith was born.
• Tyler Hansbrough
had 39 points and 13 rebounds in the Tar Heels' victory. The last North Carolina player to score at least 35 points and grab 10 rebounds in a single game was
Hansbrough, when he had 40 points and 10 rebounds in the 2005-06 season as a freshman. Before that, the previous 35-10 game by a Tar Heel was by guard Joseph Forte, who had 38 points and 10 rebounds in a win over Tulsa on Nov. 11, 2000.
• Arizona freshman Jerryd Bayless
scored 39 points in the Wildcats' 59-54 home loss to Arizona State. Bayless was 12-for-18 from the floor. The rest of Arizona's team was 3-for-24. No Wildcat aside from Bayless made more than one field goal in the loss.
• Niagara's Charron Fisher
scored a career-high 45 points in the Purple Eagles' 92-87 win over Loyola (Md.). That is a season high for any Division I player this season and the most since Florida State's Al Thornton scored 45 against Miami (Fla.) last season.
• UCLA lost at Washington 71-61. The Bruins were only 1-for-16 from behind the 3-point line in the loss. The last time the Bruins made only one shot from long distance in a road conference loss was Jan. 31, 2002, at Oregon -- when they shot 1-for-14 in a 91-62 loss to the Ducks.
• Troy's Justin Jonus
was 10-for-16 from 3-point range in the Trojans' 90-74 loss to South Alabama. The senior led all Division I players in 3-pointers made Sunday, and the total set a career high. The last time a player made double-digit 3-point field goals in a game and his team still lost was DeAndre Rice of Florida Atlantic on Feb. 3, 2007. And what team beat the Owls that day? Jonus' Troy Trojans
. Jonus had eight points on 1-for-5 shooting from long distance that day. In that game, Rice was 10-for-16 from long distance -- the same exact performance as Jonus had Sunday.