Wrap Up: Carolina Beat Back Clemson
Any game following a Duke game has the potential to be a trap. Saturday’s test at Clemson proved that axiom to be true. While Carolina went up early 15-4, the game sort of creeped back into a competitive affair after some sloppy play, including lots of missed lay-ups by the Heels. Unlike the Duke game, however, when Clemson mounted its comeback UNC responded by going up 61-53 in the final minute. That run was keyed by what could be the play of the year for this Carolina team, with Harrison Barnes taking off from the arc and driving the lane for a one-handed jam.
As was the case with the last Clemson game, Carolina was able to control the paint behind Henson and Zeller, a fact that was never more evident than one play in which Henson blocked Jerai Grant, the rebound went to Andre Young, who was then immediately swatted by Zeller. That wasn’t the only play the duo got the best of Clemson’s best big man and leading rebounder, Grant. He finished with zero points and one rebound.
The game was an important win, and showed how much this year’s team has progressed since the start of the season. Others are taking notice as well, evidenced by the fact that despite the loss to Duke, Carolina moved up to No. 19 in both national polls.
- The Heels missed a ton of open lay-ups. I don’t have the stats on this but it seemed there were quite a few, especially in the first half. One that comes to mind was Reggie Bullock directly under the basket. We’ll chalk the lack of focus up to post-Duke hangover.
- Kendall Marshall drove the ball effectively. He reached the foul line 11 times, hitting 10. He did not shoot well from further out than that, however, missing all three of his 3-point attempts.
- Barnes has arrived. His 20 points led the team for the fourth time in five games. We were trying to be too quick to proclaim this, but it seems he’s finally become the go-to scorer that he was predicted to be in the preseason.
- And most importantly, as we stated above the Heels didn’t buckle under pressure. Despite being on the road in front of a raucous crowd, Carolina stayed in the game and eventually pulled away by enough to secure the win.
Player of the Game: Close one here between Henson (14 pts, 12 rebs) and Barnes (20 pts, 5 rebs). Barnes contributed plenty of scoring while Henson seemingly altered every shot inside the arc and tallied four blocks. The award goes to Barnes for his jaw-dropper with three minutes left that started UNC’s last push. You know Henson will get some love below.
Stat Stuffer (a.k.a. the Danny Green Award): John Henson (14 pts, 12 rebs, 4 blks, 2 asts, 1 stl). Seriously though, when should we rename this the John Henson Award?
Play of the Game: You know you hit rewind after this diddy.
Play of the Game II: The Henson/Zeller double down block party.