Tar Heels dig themselves into early hole, can’t rally as they fall to Clemson

The No. 3 UNC men’s basketball program took on the Clemson Tigers Tuesday night for an Atlantic Coast Conference showdown.

After a strong win Saturday against Duke, excitement remained in the Dean Smith Center air as fans poured in on a weekday night. However, some of that energy from Saturday’s game was missing, with Seth Trimble listed OUT before tipoff with an upper-body injury.

And it was a classic hangover game for the Tar Heels.

Clemson got off to a 15-2 start in the game, making 7 of their first 8 shots while UNC struggled to get anything going from the floor. The Tar Heels did try to dig themselves out of that hole in the first half with Armando Bacot keeping the Tar Heels in it, scoring 12 of the first 14 points for UNC points to start the game.

However, once he left the court, the Tigers continued their attack, going on a 7-3 run, ballooning the lead back into double digits.

The first-half woes continued throughout, with Clemson shooting lights out, hitting 48% from the field compared to UNC’s 31%. However, despite the sluggish play, the Tar Heels were down nine at the half, with Clemson leading 43-34.

The second half got off to a rocket start for UNC, cutting the lead down faster than Duke left town Saturday. Unlike Saturday, Clemson didn’t just stick around, they continued to keep their pace from the first period, flirting with a double-digit lead at times in the second half.

The roller coaster game continued, star transfer Harrison Ingram left the game with an apparent leg injury and Clemson kept knocking down shots. Still when in doubt, UNC never wavered with Ingram making a quick return to knock in a three to tie the game.

In the end, despite the fight, UNC couldn’t overcome Clemson’s attack or the refs whistle, losing their first home game of the season 80-76.

Player of the Game

There’s no doubt player of the game for this one is Armando Bacot. The vocal leader stepped up once again, playing a significant part in the Tar Heels.

Bacot finished with 24 points and 13 rebounds, picking up from his Saturday dominating performance against Duke.

What’s Next

Next up for UNC is a Saturday afternoon road game against the Miami Hurricanes. Miami has had its fair share of struggles this season, with a 15-8 record (6-6 in the ACC). However, they have looked great at home, with an 11-2 record inside Watsco Center.

UNC caught their first road loss of the season last time out, and if they aren’t careful they can fall into another trap.

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Story originally appeared on Tarheels Wire