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Off the cuff: The game at Clemson was rather ugly. Very few fast breaks. A lot of strained half-court offense.

A lot of people thought this would be a high-scoring affair but with defense going to the forefront and neither team shooting all that well, it was one of the lower scoring games of the year - in fact, the lowest scoring game of the year for Carolina.

At the first TV timeout, with the Heels up 11-6 after hitting their first four shots, the teams were on pace to score 170 points.

It quickly turned into a grind-it-out game similar to the Pittsburgh game earlier in the week.

Both times, Carolina hung tough and close, and finished it out at the end with a 10-2 run. Two big plays during the run involved Armando Bacot. First he backed in to draw a foul and sink a bucket for an old-fashioned three-point play. Then Bacot hit RJ Davis on a backdoor play to put UNC up 60-55 with four minutes to play.

Clemson failed to score over the last five minutes of the game.

And once again, Harrison Ingram struggled, hitting just three of 10. Turns out that Ingram injured his wrist against Kentucky and he hasn't quite been the same since. He did manage to hit two open three pointers however.

The Tar Heels outrebounded the Tigers 44-33 with Bacot doing most of the damage. "With their big guys, we knew it wouild be a tough game," Bacot said. "We knew we had to win the battle of the boards in order to win."

Now Carolina goes to another ACC team who is unbeaten in the league when the Heels travel to State Wednesday for an as-always emotional battle.

Carolina 65, Clemson 55
UNC gets another gritty win on the road

(Photo by UNC Sports Information)

When the teams headed to the lockers at the end of the first half tied at 34, the big screen at Clemson flashed the word GRIT. Well, it turned out to be a gritty North Carolina team that came away with a 65-55 victory. (1/6)

Armando Bacot led Carolina's lunch pail mentality with a tough 14 point, 16-rebound effort.

"He was huge," UNC coach Hubert Davis said. "Not only did he score, he got us into the penalty, created open shots for us and he got their team in foul trouble. Him being aggressive and confident down low in the post made everything work offensively down the stretch."

It was a two-point game at 55-53 Carolina with 5:42 to play. The Tar Heels ended the game on a 10-2 run including scoring the last seven points of the game and holding the Tigers without a point over the last five minutes.

The Tar Heels' defense held Clemson to just 36 percent including just one of 18 from beyond the three-point line.

"We defended," Coach Davis said. "We defended every one of their shots and met their physicality. In the second half, we did it without fouling."

Free throw shooting kept the Tigers in the game early as they hit 12 of 14 first-half free throws. Meanwhile, the Tar Heels were just one of three from the line.

Carolina's Ryan Cormac kept the Heels in the game early as he scored all 10 of his points in the first half. There were four ties and seven lead changes in the first half which ended at 34-34.

The Tar Heels hit only two of their first 11 shots of the second half but still led 42-41 with 12 minutes to go. With the scored tied at 45, an unlikely three from the left wing by Paxson Wojcik (his only points of the game) put Carolina ahead 48-45. The Tar Heels never trailed again.

RJ Davis didn't shoot particularly well but he tied Bacot in scoring with 14 points for the Tar Heels, who start the ACC season at 3-0 for the first time since 2016 - a year where the Heels won the national championship.

Chase Hunter led the Tigers with 17 points while Ian Schieffelin had 16 points and 11 rebounds for Clemson which falls to 11-3 and 1-2 in the ACC.

The Tar Heels, now 11-3 overall and 3-0 in the league, travel to N.C. State Wednesday.

Box score

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