Clemson made three straight 3-point attempts to help build a 15-2 lead over UNC early, part of a blistering 43% first-half 3-point shooting effort.
It was largely PJ Hall vs Armando Barcot for the first 10 minutes of the game, with both players leading their respective teams with 14 points each.
After ten straight points from Bacot brought the Tar Heels within 6, Hall and Girard responded by pushing the lead to as much as 16 in the first half. In one beautiful transition play, Girard hit a bucket after pump-faking out a North Carolina defender, and the Tigers seemed to be largely in control of the game. UNC continued to battle though, and they would claw back to end the first half down just 9 points.
Hall picked up his third foul and was sent to the bench just minutes into the second half, and North Carolina quickly took advantage, cutting the deficit to 3 after just five minutes of play. A Clemson timeout gave the Tigers a moment to breathe, but RJ Davis had no intentions of slowing down, hitting another 3-pointer to pull UNC within 2.
Both teams would continue to trade buckets down the stretch, and with three minutes to go, Clemson still led 72-70. After a Clemson defensive rebound, Girard drained a 3 and Jack Clark made two free throws to stretch the lead back out to seven. The last few minutes dragged out in a typical free throw fiesta but Clemson prevailed, winning 80-76.
The win marks Clemson’s second-ever W in Dean Smith Center and pushes Clemson to 15-7 overall. Up next the Tigers will face Syracuse on Saturday.