Tar Heels extend home streak to 59 vs. Tigers
BY AARON BEARD
Wednesday, January 17, 2018
CHAPEL HILL — Graduate transfer Cameron Johnson scored a season-high 21 points to help No. 15 North Carolina hold off No. 20 Clemson 87-79 on Tuesday night, preserving its perfect all-time home record against the Tigers.
Joel Berry II scored 14 of his 17 after halftime for the Tar Heels (15-4, 4-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), who hung on despite seeing most of an 18-point lead erased by Clemson’s torrid second-half shooting.
Luke Maye added 11 points while playing with a stitched-up cut on his nose suffered shortly before halftime.
The win improved the Tar Heels to 59-0 all-time at home against Clemson, including 28-0 in the Smith Center. It’s the longest home winning streak against a single opponent in NCAA history.
Marcquise Reed scored 21 points for the Tigers (15-3, 4-2), who made 15 of 16 shots out of halftime and thrice closed within two points in the final 10 minutes.
Clemson: Year after year, the Tigers have faced the question of what it would take to end its unprecedented losing streak here. And after each loss, all they’ve been able to is shrug at the growing weight of history that has continued to follow their program to Chapel Hill. This looked to be as good of a chance as any to end the skid as it was the first meeting between the teams when ranked in the AP Top 25 since January 2009, but it ended the way all the others have before.
UNC: While the Tigers faced annual futility, the Tar Heels have long had the opposite issue — the pressure each time to ensure the streak doesn’t end on that particular squad’s watch.
And that pressure could be felt in the Smith Center when the Tigers made their incredible second-half shooting surge to get back in it.
In the end, Johnson’s big performance and a couple of tough baskets from Maye helped UNC hang on.
Clemson: The Tigers host Notre Dame on Saturday.
UNC: The Tar Heels host Georgia Tech on Saturday.
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