Monday, January 19, 2009

Ellington warmed up for Clemson

North Carolina guard Wayne Ellington's 23-point game Sunday against Miami — which included seven straight three-pointers in the second half — broke him out of a cold shooting spell.

But it also could be a good warm-up for Wednesday's game against Clemson, a team he notoriously sizzles against.

Three of the junior's best career games have come against the Tigers.
Last year at Clemson, he capped his career-high 36-point performance with a game-winning three-pointer; later that season at the Smith Center, he swished 28 points, including five three-pointers. Then during the ACC tournament, he scored 24.

"He's been outstanding against us, and the biggest thing is he just hasn't missed any -- any -- open jump shots,'' said Clemson coach Oliver Purnell, adding that Ellington has been a bigger thorn for the Tigers than All-America Tyler Hansbrough. "Obviously, he's a very good shooter; he's shot the ball extremely well against us, and in big moments -- none bigger than the loss we had in the first game of the ACC season last year."

Why does Ellington have so much success against the Tigers?

"First of all, it is usually an up-and-down game, and when it is an up-and-down game, sometimes your human nature is you run into the lane to stop layups and inside shots by the other team, and then all of sudden, you have to build back out that pressure,'' UNC coach Roy Williams said. "And I think that's something you can also say [is] that [Clemson's] K.C. Rivers is pretty doggone good against us for the same reason. So we've got to run back and find K.C. in transition, and I expect that's what they'll try to do with Wayne."

BRIEFLY: Williams said he will continue to hold senior Marcus Ginyard out of practice (the thus the Clemson game) until Thursday, when he will be re-evaluated. Ginyard had left foot surgery in October, but played in only three games before Williams "shut him down" in an effort to get him back to 100 percent.

If Ginyard plays in one more game, he will not be eligible for a medical hardship waiver without an appeals process because he will have played past the mid-way point of the season; Williams has indicated that he does not want to red-shirt him because they need his defense this season.

— Robbi Pickeral