February 26, 2024

North Carolina vs. Clemson score, takeaways: No. 3 Tar Heels fall to Clemson at home for just second time ever


Clemson went on the road and secured its biggest win of the season in an 80-76 upset victory over No. 3 North Carolina Tuesday night. The Tigers picked up their first win at the Dean Dome since January 2020 and improved to 2-60 all time in Chapel Hill.

The win was Clemson’s (15-7, 5-6 ACC) fourth Quad 1 victory of the season, providing a significant boost to its NCAA Tournament hopes. Clemson star big man PJ Hall finished with a team-high 25 points and added nine rebounds while Syracuse transfer Joseph Girard chipped in 21 points with five 3-pointers.

The Tar Heels (18-5, 10-2) were coming off a win over Duke this past weekend to move into the driver’s seat in the ACC title race. 

The Tar Heels were the last Power Six program with a perfect conference record prior to a loss to Georgia Tech last week. Now they find themselves losers of two of their last three conference contests. UNC star big man Armando Bacot recorded another double-double with 24 points and 13 rebounds.

The Tigers led by as many as 16 points in the second half before UNC tied the game at 70-70 with 4:17 reaming. Clemson closed the game on a 10-6 run behind big free throws from Hall, Jack Clark and Ian Schieffelin.

Clemson needed this one

Four of Clemson’s seven losses have come by less than three points this season. The Tigers lost to Memphis 79-77 before conference play. Since then they have a three-point loss to Georgia Tech and dropped a pair of one-point heartbreakers to Duke and Virginia. In the loss at Cameron Indoor Stadium, the Blue Devils knocked down two free throws to seal a last-second win.

It’s safe to say Clemson needed this one tonight.

This win gives Clemson a confidence boost, proving they can win a close game on the road inside a hostile environment. It also provides another resume-building win that could come in handy come Selection Sunday. In CBS Sports’ latest Bracketology by Jerry Palm, the Tigers sit on the No. 6 line.  If Clemson does make the field, it will be a tough out thanks to one of the best big men in America. They have to just get in the dance, first. This is certainly a step in the right direction. 

UNC fails to create separation in ACC title race

Rewind back to last week around this time and UNC was the last Power Six team with a perfect record in conference play. Seven days later, they find themselves with some company near the top of the ACC standings.

North Carolina looked like the clearcut favorite in the ACC after a dominant win over Duke. Virginia is now just a single game back in the standings. Those two teams are set to meet for the first and only time in Charlottesville, Virginia later this month which could have major conference title implications. Duke, NC State, Wake Forest and Florida State are all less than three games behind with a month left in the regular season.

Despite the loss, Bacot looks to be back to his normal All-American level. North Carolina (barring a collapse at the end of the season) still controls its destiny to win the league but this was a chance to create separation and build on an emotional win over Duke. They couldn’t do that and the ACC is still open because of it.





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