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Off the cuff: Carolina had a chance to blow Clemson out early as the Tigers were cold and turning the ball over. But the Heels didn't capitalize.

By the second TV timeout, Clemson had turned it over seven times and had only two buckets. But UNC managed only an 11-4 lead as the Heels hit only four of their first 13 shots.

Clemson got back in the game from three-point land. The Tigers scored nine threes compared to just two for the Heels. That kind of discrepancy killed Carolina at Duke. This time the Heels hit free throws in the second half, with some big ones by freshman Kendall Marshall after freshman Harrison Barnes gave Carolina the lead for good on a dramatic, driving dunk with three minutes to go.

Turnovers were a big story throughout as the Heels had a season-low nine compared to 16 by the Tigers.

Tar Heels 64, Clemson 62
Barnes late-game dunk spurs Heels

UNC freshman Harrison Barnes drove, twisted, turned and dunked to break a tie with three minutes to go and started an 8-2 run that bolstered Carolina to a 64-62 win at Clemson. (2/12)

The Tar Heels came through on the foul line this time, hitting nine of 12 down the stretch. And, it was needed as the Tigers drained three threes in the last 23 seconds. A pair of free throws by UNC point guard Kendall Marshall with four seconds left put the game out of reach at 64-59. Marshall hit 10 of 11 free throws in the second half and didn't commit a turnover in the final stanza.

With the score tied at 51 with 3:30 left, Tyler Zeller came up with a steal. After a timeout called by UNC, the Heels wanted to get the ball to Barnes. Marshall got the ball to him at the top of the key with 14 seconds left on the shot clock. Barnes dribbled right of the foul circle, stumbled a bit, kept moving, changed hands, turned toward the basket, leaving his defender behind midway down the lane and twisted his body to go in for a right-handed dunk.

"It fired Harrison up, our team, our bench," UNC coach Roy Williams said. "To me it was just two points... I wanted us to get our butts back down on defense."

It stayed 53-51 until Marshall stripped the ball away for steal and a contested, fastbreak layup with 1:19 left. Marshall stretched the lead to six with 55 seconds left when he popped in a pair of free throws in a one-and-one situation.

Another pair of free throws by Marshall seemingly wrapped it up at 61-53 with 31 seconds left but three different Tigers fired in threes to make it close at the end.

Carolina got out to a 15-4 led after the first 10 minutes of the game but Clemson chipped away and trailed just 28-22 at the half.

A pair of Clemson threes in the first two minutes of the second half - one by Demontez Stitt and one by Andre Young - tied the score at 28 and it was a back-and-forth dogfight from then on out. In fact, there were seven ties and nine lead changes in the second half.

UNC shot just 37 percent while Clemson shot even worse at 34 percent. "Both defenses beat the offenses today," Williams said. For the second game in a row, Carolina hit just two of 14 three-point attempts. Clemson was nine of 29 behind the arc. UNC was outrebounded 47-36, the largest rebounding deficit of the year.

"We feel fortunate to get the heck out of here," Williams said. "It was an ugly game but it was a hard-fought game. To have a big-time year, you have to win some ugly games."

The Tar Heels, now 18-6 and 8-2 in the ACC, was led by Barnes with 20 points and Marshall with 18. Carolina returns home Tuesday night to play Wake Forest.



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