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Clemson Drops Second Straight Contest, 65-55 to North Carolina

Despite a sellout crowd that included Dabo Swinney, who was seen sporting a noticeable black eye, No. 16 Clemson fell to No. 8 North Carolina, 65-55, in ACC play Saturday at Littlejohn Coliseum.

The Tigers (11-3 overall, 1-2 conference) have now dropped each of their first two contests since resuming play after the holiday break. Clemson had a dismal showing from three-point range, making just 1-of-18 shots from beyond the arc. All told, the Tigers shot just 36 percent from field goal range.

“It was a tough night for us shooting,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell said afterwards.

North Carolina’s Armando Bacot and RJ Davis, meanwhile, proved why they’re two of the best players in the ACC. Despite a better defensive effort from Clemson, Davis still managed 14 points, as did Bacot, who passed Al Wood to move into fifth place all-time in UNC scoring history.

After playing to a 34-34 tie at halftime, Clemson took its biggest lead of the afternoon when Chase Hunter made a layup to give the Tigers a 38-34 advantage early in the second period.

Chauncey Wiggins hit the Tigers’ only 3-pointer of the contest to put Clemson ahead, 41-39, with 13:22 to play. Unfortunately for the Tigers, Carolina came right back down the floor with a 3-pointer from Harrison Ingram on the Tar Heels’ next possession.

Things started to gradually slip away from there.

Davis made a 3-pointer with 10:32 to play to give North Carolina a 45-41 advantage, and Clemson never led again.

North Carolina (11-3 overall, 3-0 conference) would close the game on a 7-0 run as Clemson went the final five-plus minutes without a basket.

Hunter led the Tigers with 17 points. Ian Schieffelin added 16, including a second-half dunk that got the crowd on its feet. Schieffelin also had three steals in the first half and five total in the game to go with 11 rebounds.

“I’m proud of our team. Quick turnaround, I thought we really guarded hard and expended a tremendous amount of energy physically. Guarding their guys and keeping them off the glass as well as we did, we did an unbelievable job in the first half. They did a little better job in the second half against us,” Brownell said.

The Tigers return to action Wednesday when they travel to Blacksburg to take on Virginia Tech (9-4 overall, 1-1 conference). Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. EST. The game can be seen on ESPN.

Story originally appeared on Clemson Wire