Cumberland Times-News

Local Sports

February 28, 2013

Strickland, North Carolina beat Clemson 68-59

CLEMSON, S.C. — Dexter Strickland remembers it wasn’t so long ago when it seemed North Carolina was always out of sync and likely headed to a very un-Tar Heel-like season of struggles.

But those times seem years ago the way Strickland and the Tar Heels are playing right now.

Strickland tied his season high with 16 points and led all five North Carolina starters in double figures in a 68-59 win at Clemson on Thursday night. The victory was a season’s best fourth straight Atlantic Coast Conference win for the Tar Heels (20-8, 10-5 ACC) and gave the program its ninth straight 20-win season.

“We came a long way, I think,” said Strickland, the senior guard. “And the scary thing is we still have games to play.”

Strickland’s message was clear: Beware the Tar Heels in March.

Especially if they perform as they did in beating Clemson (13-14, 5-10) for a 15th time in 16 tries.

They shot 47.3 percent (26 of 55), just the second time in six games they’ve broken 45 percent from the field. Strickland led the way there, too, hitting seven of his nine attempts.

Reggie Bullock had 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting and nine rebounds. James Michael McAdoo and P.J. Hairston had 11 points each while Marcus Paige added 10 points.

Not everything was perfect.

The Tar Heels led 64-47 with about five minutes to play before giving up a 12-2 Clemson run that cut the lead to single digits. North Carolina was outrebounded by Clemson 39-30 and 14-8 on offensive boards, something that frustrated coach Roy Williams. Clemson’s players “were going after the ball,” Williams said. “We were acting like a bunch of pansies. Some of those were long rebounds that bounced out, and we’re standing there watching it.”

Strickland echoed his coach’s sentiments about the sloppy finish. Williams “was excited that we got the ‘W,’ but he was kind of upset we didn’t play as well as we did in the first half,” Strickland said.

But Strickland believes things are falling into place for his team to again be a factor during college basketball’s most important month.

“We’re playing together, even better. Team chemistry is there,” he said. “We’re just getting more comfortable. Everybody’s having more confidence and everybody knows their role by now.”  

It was Williams’ 23rd season with at least 20 victories in his 25 years as a head coach, first at Kansas for 15 seasons and now with the Tar Heels. That achievement, though, was not on his mind after this one. “Boy, we finished the game about as ugly as you can finish,” he said.

Devin Booker had 25 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Tigers, who lost their third straight and for the sixth time in the past seven games. Milton Jennings also had a double-double for Clemson with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

There are few better bets than the Tar Heels getting 20 wins in a season.  They’ve reached the milestone in 40 of the past 43 years and last missed the mark in Williams’ first season in 2003-04. Some thought this might’ve been another year when the Tar Heels would stub their toe after opening ACC play 0-2 with losses to Virginia and Miami.

North Carolina has rebounded strongly to win 10 of its past 13 league games and head a group tied for third in the chase for ACC tournament byes in two weeks.

Clemson struggled in the backcourt as guards Rod Hall, Damarcus Harrison and Jordan Roper — all starters — combined to shoot 4 of 25.

“Our guard play was pretty poor,” Tigers coach Brad Brownell said. “We had terrible turnovers that cost us. We had a couple of chances to get the game in a winnable place, and our young guards did not play well.”

The Tar Heels used an 18-6 run the final 10 minutes of the opening half to take control. They eventually grew the lead to 64-47 on Hairston’s third 3-pointer with about five minutes left. Clemson took off on a 12-2 stretch and briefly gave the sold-out crowd something to cheer about to cut the lead to 66-59. But the Tigers couldn’t get any closer.  

These teams hadn’t met at Littlejohn Coliseum in two seasons since 2011. While the Tigers fare better at home against the Tar Heels than at Chapel Hill — Clemson is a dreadful 0-56 when playing at North Carolina — they’ve lost four of the past five series games played here.

Things didn’t improve before the game as Clemson lost one of its leading scorers at the afternoon shoot-around — forward K.J. McDaniels, second on the team at 10.7 points a game, sprained his ankle and did not play.

Text Only
Local Sports
  • Allegany wins two as pitchers take control

    Allegany pitchers held two teams to eight base hits while defeating Smithsburg and Preston as part of the Mountain Ridge Easter Classic Friday afternoon at the Hot Stove Complex.

    April 18, 2014

  • Salisbury overpowers FSU

    Paige Knussman hit a grand slam during a seven-run third inning to lead Salisbury University to an 11-6 victory over Frostburg State, eliminating the Bobcats from the Capital Athletic Conference tournament Friday at Christopher Newport.

    April 18, 2014

  • Frostburg bounced from CAC

    Elliott Mortimer fired a four-hitter and Brad Wenzel and Colbe Herr had three hits as top-seeded York eliminated fourth-seeded Frostburg State from the Capital Athletic Conference tournament with a 5-1 victory Friday afternoon.

    April 18, 2014

  • Sellers’ five RBIs powers Alco’s rout

    Kyleigh Sellers tripled, singled twice and drove in five runs to lead a 17-hit attack that carried Allegany to an 18-6 win over Hope for Hyndman Charter on Thursday.

    April 18, 2014

  • Sports Calendar - 04/19/2014

    April 18, 2014

  • Miners win 57 in a row

    Mountain Ridge made it 57 wins in a row, scoring multiple runs in four of the five innings Thursday afternoon in defeating Keyser, 14-4, in an Appalachian Mountain Athletic Conference game at Mountain Ridge.

    April 17, 2014

  • Allegany hammers Hawks

    The bats have begun to click for the Allegany College of Maryland Trojans as a two-run first-inning home run by Tanner Klein got the ball, and the runs, rolling as the Trojans pounded out 14 hits in defeating Hagerstown Community College, 10-7, in a Maryland JUCO game Thursday at The Rock.

    April 17, 2014

  • Duncan helps ACM split two with Cecil

    Parris Duncan doubled home two runs in the top of the fourth to help Allegany College to a 2-1 victory over Cecil College in the first game of a doubleheader split Thursday afternoon.

    April 17, 2014

  • Unbeaten Alco beats Hyndman

    Undefeated Allegany took a five-inning 14-4 win at Hope for Hyndman Charter School Thursday, scoring five runs in the second inning and eight in the third.

    April 17, 2014

  • Ken Ayers hits ace

    Ken Ayers hit a hole-in-one Thursday on the No. 3 hole at Mill Creek Country Club during an MGA scramble.

    April 17, 2014