GAME NOTES: The North Carolina Tar Heels have last four of their last five games, and will look to turn things around as they host the Clemson Tigers in Atlantic Coast Conference action at the Dean Smith Center.
Clemson had a three-game winning streak going before it was halted by Pittsburgh, 76-43, in the Tigers' last outing. Clemson has managed a 4-2 record in the ACC this season.
North Carolina's three-game losing streak and four defeats in the last five games comes at the beginning portion of the Tar Heels' conference schedule. North Carolina has limped to a 1-4 start in the ACC, with a 76-61 loss to Virginia in the team's most recent contest.
Still, North Carolina has an unbelievably comfortable grasp of the all-time series lead with Clemson, 127-20. The Tar Heels have beaten the Tigers 15 times in the last 16 meetings.
Once Clemson scored the first basket of the Tigers' matchup with Pittsburgh, the Panthers went on an 11-0 run and led for the remainder of the contest. The 33-point defeat for the Tigers was the worst since a loss to Virginia last season. K.J. McDaniels was the only Clemson player to net double figures in the game, scoring 11 points on 4-od-11 shooting, including 1-of-4 from 3-point range. The Tigers connected on just 32 percent of their shots from the floor in the contest, including 21.1 percent from distance.
For a Clemson team with a 4-2 record in the ACC, the Tigers haven't had much scoring help on the season other than what McDaniels is able to provide. He leads the team in scoring with a 16.4 ppg average on 47.4 percent shooting. He's the only Clemson player to average scoring totals in the double digits. McDaniels also tops the team with a 7 rpg average. Rod Hall is just under the 10-point mark, checking in at 9.8 ppg with a team-best 66 assists on the season.
Virginia took a nine-point lead into the locker room over North Carolina in the Tar Heels' most recent game, then built a 15-point lead early in the second half. The Cavaliers never allowed the Tar Heels to get the lead back into single digits in the contest, as they cruised to victory. Kennedy Meeks led all North Carolina players with 15 points in the game and nine rebounds. James Michael McAdoo chipped in 11 and Leslie McDonald scored 10. The Tar Heels shot 41.3 percent from the floor in the loss.
Marcus Paige has come on strong for North Carolina, as the guard leads the team in scoring with 16.8 ppg on 41.7 percent shooting. Paige also tops the squad with 78 assists on the year. McAdoo is second on the team with 14.4 ppg and a team-best 29 steals. Brice Johnson (10.2 ppg) leads the team in rebounding at 6.5 rpg. Through 18 games played, the Tar Heels are averaging 75.2 ppg.
For Clemson to only net 43 points in its last game against Pittsburgh is a bit concerning. North Carolina is still a strong team on its home court, and regardless of whether the Tigers have offensive woes, the Tar Heels will be itching to get back into ACC contention.
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