Empty moral victory motivates No. 20 Clemson


Clemson coach Brad Brownell is not one for moral victories after his 20th-ranked team came back from an 18-point deficit at No. 15 North Carolina on Tuesday before losing 87-79.

The Tigers (15-3, 4-2 in the ACC), who host Notre Dame on Saturday, made 15 of their first 16 shots in the second half, including 15 in a row, to pull within 64-62 with 8:01 left in the game, but could not get over the hump against the Tar Heels.

Brownell said he did not see any silver linings with the comeback, only the inability to take care of business.

"Yeah, I don't know if we're at that point where we need to be like, looking for all those types of things," Brownwell said. "You just go out and play. We've won enough games (this season) that we know we're a good team and we have to play really well to beat a team like North Carolina at North Carolina.

"That's just the way it is ... at the onset, we didn't do anything to set a tone like we were a really good team coming in here to win. We just played the game. And that's disappointing."

Clemson plays Notre Dame (13-6, 3-3) in a game between two frustrated teams. The Fighting Irish, who have lost three consecutive games, fell short in an 82-78 loss in double-overtime against Louisville in South Bend, Ind., on Tuesday.

In his first game back since missing three games because of an ankle injury, senior guard Matt Farrell scored a team-high 23 points. Senior forward Martinas Geben had a career-high 22 points and 17 rebounds. Sophomore guard T.J. Gibbs finished with 12 points.

Farrell made only 2 of 14 shots from the field in the second half. He also missed his two 3-point shots after halftime.

"(Louisville's) size really bothered him, and in all honesty, fatigue got to him," Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. "It's not like we can take him out and rest him. I was asking him at every timeout, but he was really tired. He hadn't played heavy minutes in a while."

Clemson junior guard Marcquise Reed scored 19 of his 21 points in the second half to lead the comeback against North Carolina. Reed finished 7-for-14 shooting from the field and eclipsed 20 points for the fifth time this season.

Junior guard Shelton Mitchell scored 18 and junior forward Elijah Thomas had 16 points and six rebounds. Senior guard Gabe DeVoe chipped in 11 points, all in the first half.

Clemson is 0-59 against North Carolina at Chapel Hill, N.C., a fact that frustrates Brownell.

"(It's a) little disappointing the way our guys played," he said. "I don't think we played very well. Just started the game very poorly with turnovers, some careless ones and then couldn't make free throws, couldn't make a shot.

"I thought we were a little down and just kind of pouted a little bit based on our poor offense and never really defended like a team that's a good team. They just made us pay all night.

"I think certainly some of it is North Carolina's defense, but there's also some of it that's just carelessness and poor fundamentals. Guys just not being mentally into it where they should be."

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