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Off the cuff: Even without Hansbrough and company, I felt the Tar Heels had the talent and enough senior leadership to be 14-3 at this time but losses to Charleston and Clemson have dampened the season's outlook. The problem isn't just the poise of the freshman and sophomores but poor play of upperclassmen. I guess that's why Coach Williams is now starting to take blame for the lack of advancement of this team. Not sure exactly what the problem is frankly.

Littlejohn Coliseum is a great college atmosphere and the fans are really into it. That being said, I'm not sure that game - a win over this Carolina team - deserved a charge-the-floor ending.

The Clemson players did seem to want the win more and they deserve the credit. But I think I'd rather lose than have jackasses like Trevor Booker on my team.

That guy is too good, too talented to be so demonstratively arrogant and such a poor sport. He hot dogged it throughout the game - making sure the cameras locked in on him to see his reaction to each play. He strangely nodded his head almost constantly - looking a bit like one of those phony pro wrestlers like Brute Benard or the Missouri Mauler from the old days. He yacked with officials when he didn't agree with calls. He pointed emphatically when he did. He yelled and patted his chest and posed and otherwise drew attention to himself whenever possible. Jackass.

I hope Ed Davis gets another crack at Booker in the ACC tournament. Unfortunately the Tigers don't come to Chapel Hill this year - another reason to hate this scheduling after expansion. Wish the ACC would have or could have expanded the league in football and left basketball the way it was.

Clemson 83, Tar Heels 64
Tigers whip butter-fingered Tar Heels

After 10 straight loses to North Carolina, Clemson poured it on from the outset sinking three pointers and taking advantage of 26 Tar Heel turnovers in an 83-64 victory in Littlejohn Coliseum. (1/13)

By the first TV timeout, the Tar Heels had already turned it over four times and given up two three pointers to fall behind by double digits at 16-6.

"I felt like we'd play well," UNC coach Roy Williams said. "But they had a tremendous sense of urgency." Williams took the blame for his team not having that urgency or poise against Clemson pressure.

Three more Clemson triples over a two-minute period gave the Tigers their largest lead of the half and game at 35-12 with 10:15 left in the first half.

The Tar Heels actually outscored the Tigers 20-15 during the second portion of the first half (and for the rest of the game) but the damage was done. UNC finished the half with 15 turnovers that led to 21 Clemson points. The Heels also gave up seven threes while scoring none in the half.

Ed Davis, the ACC's leader in field goal percentage, was scoreless in the first half and finished with only four points, going just two of 11 from the field.

After a listless first two minutes of the second half, Clemson extended the lead from from 50-32 to 54-32 and UNC coach Roy Williams benched all five starters and replaced them with five freshmen. Williams spent the time coaching the guys on the bench while assistant Steve Robinson coached the game.

However, when the starters came back in, they promptly turned the ball over twice in the first 20 seconds.

"The head coach has to do a better job," Coach Williams said. "I'm not feeling real good about the job I'm doing right now."

The 19-point defeat was the largest a Williams-coached Tar Heels team has ever had, eclipsing the 18-point loss to Kansas in the Final Four two years ago.

UNC, mostly behind inspired play of Dexter Strickland, cut the lead to 11 with six minutes left but Demontez Stitt, who scored a season-high 20 points, stopped the bleeding for Clemson with a driving bucket and three-point play to get the margin back up to 14 at 71-57.

With more than four minutes left, Carolina had a chance - actually four of them after offensive rebounds - to cut the lead to 10 but couldn't get it in the basket.

Strickland led the 12-5, 1-1 Tar Heels with 17 points while Trevor Booker led the 14-3, 2-1 Tigers with 21 points.

Carolina, which hopes to have Tyler Zeller back from a foot injury, plays at home Saturday at 2 p.m. against Georgia Tech.


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