clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

UNC falls to Clemson at home after brutal first half

That was ugly.

NCAA Basketball: Clemson at North Carolina Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

UNC’s perfect home record this season ended Tuesday night in an 80-76 loss against Clemson after the Tar Heels struggled defensively and fell apart late after fighting back to tie the game. The teams were fairly evenly matched in the second half, but the Tigers’ hot first half was enough to carry them to the win.

Clemson made 11 of their 31 shots from three, busting the Tar Heel perimeter defense that has been really effective this season. After Carolina won on the road at Clemson primarily because they were able to limit Joe Girard and PJ Hall, both of them combined for 46 points in the Tigers’ win tonight. Conversely, Carolina just could not find the offense when it needed it to get over the hump.

The 43-34 halftime deficit was the worst the Tar Heels have faced this season. UNC shot just 27% from the field in the first 20 minutes, and it felt at times like Clemson couldn’t miss. Armando Bacot had another strong night to build off the showing he had against Duke, scoring 23 points and pulling down 13 rebounds. He made 10 of his 11 free throws. RJ Davis scored 22 points, but he was off from long distance, making just five of his 12 shots beyond the arc. Harrison Ingram finished with 11 points but missed time in the second half with leg cramps. The team got some valuable minutes from Paxon Wojcik off the bench with seven points, but it felt like they were sorely missing Seth Trimble who missed the game with an injury.

There is probably something to be said about Duke hangover games, as much as we’d like to think otherwise. The rivalry is such an emotionally charged environment, so the games on either side of it feel like they can be traps. Unfortunately for the Tar Heels, they big win over Duke was bookended by games they absolutely should have won as one of the best teams in the country. UNC probably could have survived this one if they’d found a way to stop the bleeding early on, but nothing they did later in the game was enough to comeback from that far down. They never led in the game.

UNC will try and shake this one off before they head to Miami on Saturday.