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Off the cuff: It sounds as if Lawson will sit out the next game against Virginia. He was hurt in the first four minutes of the Florida State game, sat against Duke and sat again tonight.

If Tyler Hansbrough plays his senior year, he may be considered the best player in Carolina history. Phil Ford has that honor right now but Hansbrough is just incredible. (Hey folks, Jordan didn't play his senior year and I would argue that Ford had a better collegiate career regardless.)

Carolina's defense was porous for much of the game as Hammonds, and others, drove to the hoop at will and various Tigers got open looks from three-point land. But to their credit, the Heels worked hard, hung in there and started getting some turnovers late in the game. It was that tough defense combined with solid shooting down the stretch that led to the win.

Carolina hit 16 of their last 25 shots. Hansbrough hit eight of them without missing.

Carolina fans took an undeserved blasting for their "performance" during the Duke game. It understandably was a downer to learn that Ty Lawson would not play because of his ankle injury. Then Duke jumped on Carolina early. Tonight when Clemson jumped on Carolina early the fans stayed in it and were loud and provided a good home court advantage.

These sports talk radio shows and the anybody but Carolina crowd love to put down Tar Heel fans. First, if the measuing stick is Duke, then I'd rather continue to be put down. Second, the caverness dome (and student seating) doesn't lend itself to the same atmosphere as Carmichael had. Third, yes Carolina is confident (State fans would say stuck up) - the fans understandably expect to win and the Heels normally do. The one criticism that is deserved is that some fans come late and leave early.

The Tar Heels average fewer than three home losses a year yet almost had their third already after earlier losses to Maryland and Duke.

Coach Williams talked about how special Hansbrough is but he reserved much of his praise for other players. "I think that when Danny (Green) made a couple of those threes, all of a sudden it is a five-point game and then you do really start believing. .. It was discouraging when Wayne (Ellington) played great defense on Oglesby and he made that three. It was a double pump lean in three with Wayne in his face. You also have to be awfully proud of Quentin Thomas. The adversity the youngster has faced and then he steps to the free throw line and makes both free throws to tie the game up at 90. .. I'm proud of him ... There are a lot of guys I am awfully proud of." Agree Coach, but Hansbrough is the man.

Heels 103, Tigers 93 (2 OT)
Carolina comes from 15 down behind Hansbrough

Tyler Hansbrough hit eight straight buckets down the stretch and sank 17 free throws on the night as North Carolina kept its ACC regular season title hope alive following a wild come-from-behind victory over Clemson. (2/10)

It was the 53rd time in a row that the Tar Heels have beaten the Tigers at home but it didn't look like the streak would continue when Clemson led 68-53 with just nine minutes to go.

Carolina cut into the lead by only four over the next four minutes as Clemson still lead by 11 at 77-66 with less than five minutes to play after Cliff Hammonds, who led the Tigers with career-high 31 points, drove the baseline for a bucket.

A Wayne Ellington jumper cut the margin to nine with 4:20 left and the Heels had an opportunity to cut into it further before James Mays came up with a steal and dunk to put Clemson back up by 11 at 79-68 with 3:10 to go.

That's when some inspired play by Danny Green jumpstarted the comeback. First, he followed up a Carolina miss inside and then came up with a steal that led to a Hansbrough dunk to make it 79-72 with 2:35 left.

A Hansbrough basket 25 seconds later cut it to 79-74. On the other end, Hansbrough drew a foul on Hammonds to give the ball back to Carolina with 2:02 to go.

Green drilled a long three with 1:50 to go to get the joint jumpin' at 79-77. Following a quick UNC timeout, Hammonds tossed in a three of his own to up the margin back to five at 82-77 with 1:15 to go.

Just five seconds later, Green swished another three pointer to get the lead down to two at 82-80.

Clemson worked some time off the clock before Quentin Thomas fouled Clemson's second best foul shooter, Demontez Stitt. It worked out well for the Heels as Stitt missed the front end of a one-and-one and Hansbrough rebounded.

Thomas drove to the hoop to tie it at 82-all with 25 seconds left. Clemson got a couple of shots at it but couldn't score, sending the game into overtime.

Hansbrough hit a hotly contested 10-footer to put the Tar Heels up for the first time in the game at 84-82. But Clemson reeled off five straight including a three pointer by Terrence Oglesby to put Clemson up 87-84 with 2:15 left in the first overtime.

After Hansbrough put Carolina back up 88-87, Oglesby sank an off-balanced, well-covered three to give the Tigers the lead again at 90-88. Thomas calmly sank a pair of free throws with 38 second to go in overtime to tie it again.

In the second overtime, Hansbrough opened the scoring with a 17 footer and a minute later sank a pair of free throws to give the Heels a 94-90 lead. Potter scored inside to draw Clemson to 94-93 with 2:03 to go but never scored again.

Green and Hansbrough each sank a pair of free throws to up the margin to 98-93. Hansbrough was fouled after he knocked the ball away near the mid-court line. Ellington scored with 50 seconds left to up it to 100-93 and seconds later, after Clemson failed to score, sank a pair of free throws to wrap it up.

Carolina played poorly to start the game while Clemson was hot. The Tar Heels turned the ball over 13 times in the first half including five times in the first two minutes of the game. The Tigers worked up a 10-2 lead and extended it to 25-11 midway through the half.

Ellington got hot from the three-point line to keep the Heels in it but the Tigers still led by 11, 45-34, at the half. The Tigers hit seven of 12 three-point shots in the first half.

Just five minutes into the second half, Carolina had cut the lead to six after a three by Marcus Ginyard, who later left the game with an injured ankle, and a dunk by Alex Stepheson. The Heels had two opportunities to get it down further but Clemson, fueled by Hammond, went on a 13-4 run to make it 62-47.

Hansbrough led the Tar Heels with 39 points, the most by any ACC player this year. Clemson coach Oliver Purnell said it was just too much Hansbrough down the stretch. He also had 13 rebounds. Ellington scored 28 points and Green added 14.

Carolina was 31 of 36 from the foul line while Clemson was just one of seven. The Tar Heels move to 22-2 and 7-2 in the ACC while the Tigers fell to 17-6 and 5-4 in the league.

Check out the game box score and a game photo gallery.
Take a look at other game articles.
Read my Tar Heels' season preview on WRAL.com by clicking here.

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