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What Brad Brownell said after Clemson’s upset win over North Carolina

Clemson pulled one of the biggest upsets of the season in the ACC when it defeated No. 3 North Carolina, 80-76, on Tuesday night at the Dean Smith Center in Chapel Hill.

A 7.5-point underdog with losses in six of their last nine contests entering the night, the Tigers (15-7 overall, 5-6 ACC) stormed out to a 15-2 lead and led by as many as 16 in the first half before North Carolina (18-5, 10-2) eventually tied the game at 70-all with around four minutes to play in regulation.

Clemson closed things out with a 10-6 run to earn just the program’s second win all-time in Chapel Hill.

Here’s what Tigers coach Brad Brownell said after the game.

On getting a big win:

“I’m really happy for these guys. I’ve said a couple of times that I think we’re playing better than our ACC record, but we are what our record says we are so we’ve got to finish some games. Our guys have really hung in there. I think they’ve battled and stayed pretty positive. They’re working hard in practice every day. We just haven’t had many good results.

“The start to the game was huge. Obviously it gave our guys a big shot in the arm and some confidence, and then we weathered the storm. This place was loud. I think we shocked them early. For the last 30 minutes, it got loud in here and I thought our guys handled that very well. They made some big plays down the stretch. It’s just a big win for us. “

On his approach to the team at the beginning of the game and what he hoped to achieve on offense:

“Just play with confidence. Move the ball and move ourselves. We got some stops. I thought we were able to get out a little bit. I told them, ‘We don’t want to run on made baskets every time, but occasionally we’re going to push it.’ We want to get down the floor. We want to attack, we want to move the ball, look inside. We knew they (North Carolina) were going to do a couple of things in their pick and roll that we kind of exploited. We knew if our guards attacked down hill, we could get a throwback 3 to some of our bigs.

“I told PJ Hall, ‘Knock these in, man. These are the same ones you’ve been getting, but you’re ready.’ He got off to a good start. (Carolina) ended up changing their coverage probably around halftime or late in the first half. We had to make some adjustments again. I thought our games hung in there. I’m proud of the way we rebounded the ball. We only had five turnovers. We did some unbelievable things, rebounding 43 (shots), 11 offensive boards, and then to only have 14 assists and five turnovers in a game like this, with this pressure, is pretty good play.”

On Joe Girard’s 21 points and six rebounds:

“Huge. We need that because Ian (Schieffelin) and PJ can only do so much. They’ve been battling pretty well and had 11 and nine rebounds, but we’ve got to get those guards swooping down and grabbing a few. That was really important for us. It was hard to stop those guys. I thought we changed defenses enough to at least slow the game down a little, especially in that first half. This was a hard-fought one down the stretch.”

On UNC’s RJ Davis scoring 22 points but needing 22 shots:

“That was really big. They sometimes play and we forget the simple things. At the beginning of the game, we’re playing so well and (Armando) Bacot is taking it upon himself to try to keep them in it. We did a good job on Davis and then midway through the game, it kind of flipped and Davis started trying to take over. I just told our players that if we got help off some of these other guys to try to make it really hard for Bacot and Davis. Getting Davis to shoot 22 balls for 22 points, that’s huge for us. That really helps the percentages. And then I just thought we battled as well as we could. Bacot is a real tough matchup.”

Story originally appeared on Clemson Wire