January 12, 2020 / 12:10 AM / a month ago

Clemson halts 59-game skid at North Carolina

Clemson wiped out a double-digit deficit in the final two minutes of regulation and went on to end a historic homecourt winning streak by North Carolina, winning 79-76 in overtime Saturday at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Jan 11, 2020; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels forward Caleb Ellis (25) fights for the ball with North Carolina Tar Heels forwards Armando Bacot (5) in the first half at Dean E. Smith Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson had never won in Chapel Hill in 59 previous visits. North Carolina’s home streak in the series was the longest such string in NCAA history.

Aamir Simms knocked down 20 points for the Tigers.

North Carolina (8-8, 1-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) never trailed until overtime. The outcome denied Tar Heels coach Roy Williams his 880th career victory, so he remains tied with his mentor Dean Smith for fifth place among Division I coaches.

Clemson, after wiping out a 10-point deficit in the final two minutes of regulation, scored the first four points of overtime.

Brandon Robinson, a senior guard, had 19 of his career-high 27 points in the first half for North Carolina. Freshman forward Armando Bacot tacked on 21 points for the Tar Heels.

The Tar Heels were coming off consecutive home losses and the streak seemed in danger. Clemson hadn’t played in a week since upsetting North Carolina State.

Clemson (8-7, 2-3) was within 56-51 when North Carolina’s Garrison Brooks scored on consecutive possessions, resulting in another timeout called by the Tigers.

Robinson didn’t score in the second half until the 6:10 mark, but his 3-pointer pushed the margin to 63-53. Another Robinson 3-pointer stretched the lead before North Carolina then went through a three-minute scoring drought.

After a pair of North Carolina turnovers, Clemson got within 68-64 with 1:12 to play. Simms’ 3-pointer made it 68-67 with 34 seconds left.

Another North Carolina giveaway resulted in Clyde Trapp going to the free-throw line, but the Clemson guard missed both free-throw attempts with 15.7 seconds to play.

Robinson sank two free throws with 12.1 seconds left before Simms’ tying 3 with 3.5 seconds showing.

Brooks, who was coming off games of 35 and 21 points, was scoreless in the first half but ended up with 13 points.

Tevin Mack, a graduate transfer from Alabama who hadn’t been part of past losses in Chapel Hill, and John Newman III had 17 points apiece for the Tigers.

North Carolina was on a 14-5 run late in the first half before Al-Amir Dawes drained a 3-pointer at the first-half buzzer, cutting the Tar Heels’ edge to 39-29.

Slideshow (30 Images)

The Tar Heels, who completed a season-long four-game homestand, were without freshman guard Jeremiah Francis, who was out because of soreness in his left knee. He had been in the starting lineup the past three games, so his absence added to North Carolina’s injury woes.

The latest lineup juggle resulted in the first career start for junior guard Andrew Platek.

—Field Level Media

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