Brad Brownell said he watched the replay of Shelton Mitchell’s contact with North Carolina’s Coby White and Garrison Brooks prior to talking with the media following Clemson’s 81-79 loss to No. 5 North Carolina Saturday at Littlejohn Coliseum.
Mitchell drew contact from the two North Carolina players on the game’s final play as he desperately tried to get a shot off with five seconds to play.
“I saw it, yeah. I saw it,” Brownell said.
It all began after UNC’s Kenny Williams missed the second of his two foul shots with 10 seconds to play in the game. Mitchell grabbed the rebound and raced down the court.
The senior decided to drive the lane and possibly force overtime, but White and Brooks met him at the top of the foul line and as he went up for the shot and created contact, the officials let things play out, which resulted in White stealing the ball and Brooks chucking the Tigers’ opportunity to tie or the win game down the court.
“That is a hard call. I don’t know,” Brownell said after being asked what he saw from his vantage point on the floor. “Obviously, he is trying to drive in there, and make a play. They are kind of back peddling, you know. We trust those guys on that situation there. If they are in position to make it, they see it, they make it. They are not going to be afraid to make a call at the end if it was a foul.
“We will just see. That was not the reason we won or lost. It was just a bang-bang play at the end that gave us a chance. We did not get the break, so we move on.”
The Tigers (17-12, 7-9 ACC) have not gotten any breaks this season. Saturday’s loss was the fifth loss by two or fewer points this year and it was the fourth game they lost on the final play.
“We did a good job at the end of managing the game to give ourselves a chance. Obviously now, in hindsight, I wish I would have called timeout with whatever it was, four and a half seconds left, but I didn’t, and Shelton tried to go make a play.
“You trust your older guards to go make plays and that one just did not get done. It was a tough way to lose.”