Monday, January 7, 2008

Clemson misses free shot at Heels

Clemson demonstrated on Sunday night that it’s possible to neutralize North Carolina center Tyler Hansbrough if you surround him with large, physical bodies and lean on him.

North Carolina demonstrated that it can win even when Hansbrough has a quiet night. That was the most important revelation in a memorable ACC opener for both teams as the Tar Heels won 90-88 in overtime.

Hansbrough was held to 12 points on 3-for-7 from the field, but guard Wayne Ellington scored 36, including the game-winning 3-pointer with four tenths of a second remaining in overtime.
“He just kind of does it all night long,” Clemson coach Oliver Purnell said of Ellington on Monday. “He can really run the floor and finish a layup or a little bank shot.”

Last season, North Carolina lacked a dependable, consistent perimeter scorer to punish the few opponents who could stop the Tar Heels in the post. Ellington’s emergence gives the team an added dimension that could get the team to the Final Four.

As for Clemson, North Carolina coach Roy Williams expressed it best Monday.

“The only way we were able to win the game last night was really Clemson’s inability to make free throws,” Williams said.

It’s the same problem that plagued Clemson last season, when the Tigers won their first 17 games but lost enough close ones to miss the NCAA tournament. And whether it’s in basketball or football, Clemson teams have subjected their fans to an agonizing time over the last eight weeks.

With a trip to the ACC football championship game on the line, wide receiver Aaron Kelly dropped what should have been a winning touchdown pass as Clemson lost to Boston College.
In the Chick-fil-A Bowl, Clemson lost in overtime to Auburn. And then the Tigers shot 14-for-27 from the foul line, blowing a late lead and losing to the nation’s No. 1 team in basketball.

Those are some harrowing results for fans who yearn for an ACC football title, hate losing to SEC teams and relish opportunities to trump the vaunted Tar Heels in basketball.

– Ken Tysiac

2 comments:

JAT said...

Ken:

I know what Roy means, but the fact is that the Heels missed as many FTs -- 4 -- from the 4min. mark on and into OT as the Tigers did.

As such in winning time, the FTs equalized but getting the ball to your shooters in space did not.

Great win by the Heels.

JAT
UNC '87

Carson said...

Im a Huge Tiger fan and always will be, I was in Littlejohn sunday and that place was electric. UNC fans realized they are vulnerable and Clemson fans should be proud of our guys. We are a relatively young team and have a bright future. I feel that coach Purnell has done a great job ressurecting the program over the last 5 years and as he begins to recruit more consistent free throws shooters Clemson will only get better. To comment the statemet about free throws during the last 4 minutes and OT being equal, that may be true but it was the other 36 minutes of regulation that hurt us. But either way I think Clemson has allowed itself the opportunity to put itself on the college basketball map and we can't give up on the season.