The Tigers tourney hopes took a big hit Saturday when they fell 64-62 Saturday afternoon in Littlejohn.
“It was a disappointing loss for us. There were some similarities to the first game,” said Brownell.
Demontez Stitt led the Tigers with 17 points. Milton Jennings scored 15 points coming off the bench and pulled down 12 rebounds. Tanner Smith was also in double-figures with 11.
“Offensively, I thought we tried too hard and were impatient. We just had a hard time relaxing and settling down. We did a little better for a while there in the second half, then we had a cold stretch at a bad time late in the game, then they pulled away,” said Brownell.
Jerai Grant once again struggled against the Heels. At North Carolina Grant was held to only two points and Saturday he did not score.
Clemson shot only 34 percent for the game and had 16 critical turnovers. Coach Brownell was disappointed in how his team handled the ball.
“It’s a mentality that we’re trying to bring to the program. It’s a fight every day in terms of understanding the value of every possession and working to get good shots and working together to find a way to get our team the best shot possible. Instead, we get a little antsy and put our head down and try to make a play that’s not really there. That’s a small difference between us and North Carolina right now,” said Brownell.
The Heels jumped out to a 4-0 lead on two Harrison Barnes baskets. The Tigers missed their first seven shots from the field to start the game. Milton Jennings finally scored with 16:15 to go in the half.
With 11:51 to go in the half the Tigers trailed 11-4. The Tigers only hit 2-13 in the first 7 minutes of the game. The Heels only hit 4-13 but were helped by going to the line five times, while the Tigers didn’t go to the line.
The Heels continued to surge while the Tigers couldn’t hit a shot. With 9:49 to go coach Brownell called a timeout with North Carolina leading 15-4.
Tanner Smith broke the drought with 9:10 to go with a three-pointer to make the score 15-7. Milton Jennings tipped in a ball and was fouled with 7:12 to go to cut the lead to 17-11. After a free throw the lead was down to five. Tanner Smith followed with a layup off a steal to cut the lead to 17-14.
The Heels went on a 7-3 run to stretch the lead to 24-17. North Carolina led at the half 28-22.
North Carolina went to the line 11 times in the first half while the Tigers only went three times.
Milton Jennings led the Tigers in scoring at the half with 7. The Tigers shot only 27 percent in the first half including 13 percent from three. North Carolina shot 35 percent in the first half and only 12 percent from three.
Demontez Stitt hit a three to start the second half to cut the lead to 28-25. Andre Young followed with another and the score was tied at 28. Devin Booker hit a pair of free throws with 17:15 to put the Tigers up 30-28.
North Carolina went on a 6-2 run to go back on top 36-32. The Tigers fought back and tied the game at 36 with 13:37 to go after Demontez Stitt nailed two free throws.
Milton Jennings hit a three from the corner to put the Tigers back up 40-38. Milton Jennings dunked to tie the score at 42. With 7:15 to go Demontez Stitt hit two free throws to put the Tigers up 46-45.
The Heels went on a 5-2 run to go back up 50-48 thanks to several Tiger fouls. Tanner Smith hit a three to put Clemson up 51-50.
Andre Young missed an open three with 1:54 to go that would have put the Tigers up one. The Heels built an eight point lead with 31 seconds to play. Clemson hit several threes down the stretch, but fell short.
Clemson fell to 17-8 with the loss and 6-5 in the ACC.