Stitt scores career-high 25 points, but Tigers can't overcome late Heels' run


by - Senior Writer -
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GREENSBORO, N.C. – Brad Brownell’s basketball team gave it all they had on Saturday, including getting a career-high 25 points from Demontez Stitt, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a loud pro-North Carolina crowd, the hot-shooting of Harrison Barnes and a lack of offense in the final three minutes of regulation.

The result was a gritty but disappointing overtime loss to the Tar Heels, 92-87, in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum.

“It’s a very difficult loss,” Brownell said. “We played very well for long stretches, and we really controlled the game for a good part of it. North Carolina has talented players, and Harrison Barnes was outstanding. We couldn’t guard him and couldn’t stop him. He was a real difference maker for them. But I am proud of my team. We competed and played as hard as we could. We had our chances to ice the game, and had a chance to make some shots and we missed them.”

The Tigers led 72-66 on a Tanner Smith 3-pointer with 4:41 remaining in the game, but the Tigers went without a field goal for the remainder of regulation and North Carolina tied the score at 73 on a turnaround jumper off the glass by Tyler Zeller with 29 seconds remaining.

Clemson held for the last shot, but Demontez Stitt’s jumper as time expired was way off the mark and the teams headed to overtime.

Brownell was asked if he should have called a timeout to set up the last play, and he said no.

“Guys, it’s not that difficult,” he said. Open shots. Look at the film. Tanner Smith had a wide open 3-pointer, and if he makes it it’s game over. This guy [Stitt] had the ball at the end of the game with a chance to win it. Do you want to draw something up? If I call timeout, Roy is going to change defenses. By not calling the timeout, you don’t allow the opposing coach to change defenses and trap you. You just get the ball to your best player, give him space and let him make a play.”

Harrison Barnes, who led all scorers with 40 points [breaking the ACC tourney record by a freshman, breaking the record of 33 by former Ga. Tech guard Mark Price], drained a 3-pointer to begin the extra period, and Kendall Marshall followed with a 3-pointer a minute later, forcing the Tigers to play a game of catch-up they couldn’t win.

Andre Young hit two big 3-pointers in the final 30 seconds, the second one with 10.8 seconds left, to pull Clemson within three at 90-87. On the ensuing inbounds pass, Bryan Narcisse got his hands on the ball, but couldn’t control it. UNC succeeded on the next inbounds pass and Barnes hit both free throws to cap his 40-point day.


Following Stitt’s free throw with 3:54 remaining in the game, UNC would outscore Clemson 16-0. Clemson wouldn’t score again until Tanner Smith hit a layup with 2:05 remaining in overtime.

Brownell said everybody knows that Greensboro is not a “neutral” court, using his fingers to mimic quotation marks, and said the crowd did make a difference.

“It’s not neutral, and everybody knows that,” he said. “This place holds 24,000, and 18,000 are pulling for Carolina, 2000 for Clemson and 4000 are rooting against Carolina. That’s just the way it is. It’s tough, but you have to be better than that and we didn’t get it done. It helps them in their runs late in the game. Against Miami and us. If you have the crowd pulling for you it makes a difference.

“I looked up into our student section, and there were 300 of them way up there where I can barely see them, and they are trying like crazy and cheering for us throughout the game. But it’s tough when the other team has the advantage of 18,000 people. Maybe next time we can get them on a neutral court in Greenville.”

Clemson has most certainly made the NCAA Tournament, and will wait on the NCAA Selection Show on Sunday, while top-seeded North Carolina advances to the championship of the tournament. Brownell said his team faces an uphill challenge because none of the national media focuses on what they have accomplished.

“The ACC media, ESPN, they don’t know anything about us,” he said. “The committee members that don’t live in North Carolina don’t know anything about us. Most of those guys don’t even know we are in South Carolina. We have a small media market, and people don’t understand how tough this team is and what it has accomplished.”


Postgame press conference


VISITORS: #4 Clemson 21-11, 9-7
                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
02 Stitt, Demontez..... *  9-20   1-4    6-10   1  1  2   4  25  4  2  0  4  42
05 Smith, Tanner....... *  5-9    4-7    0-0    1  5  6   1  14  4  4  0  3  43
11 Young, Andre........ *  5-11   4-8    0-1    1  1  2   2  14  5  1  0  2  37
31 Booker, Devin....... *  4-8    0-0    1-2    3  2  5   3   9  0  0  0  1  24
45 Grant, Jerai........ *  2-8    0-0    0-0    5  2  7   4   4  1  2  1  0  27
03 Anderson, Zavier....    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   1   0  2  0  0  0  10
10 Baciu, Catalin......    1-1    0-0    1-2    0  1  1   2   3  0  0  0  1   6
12 Stanton, Cory.......    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   1   0  0  0  0  0   1
21 Narcisse, Bryan.....    1-1    0-0    0-0    0  1  1   2   2  0  1  0  1   6
24 Jennings, Milton....    6-8    3-5    1-1    2  5  7   5  16  0  5  0  0  29
   TEAM................                         2  2  4             1
   Totals..............   33-66  12-24   9-16  15 20 35  25  87 16 16  1 12 225


TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 15-27 55.6%   2nd Half: 14-28 50.0%   OT:  4-11 36.4%   Game: 50.0%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  6-8  75.0%   2nd Half:  3-8  37.5%   OT:  3-8  37.5%   Game: 50.0%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  2-7  28.6%   2nd Half:  4-5  80.0%   OT:  3-4  75.0%   Game: 56.3%    4



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
HOME TEAM: #1 North Carolina 26-6, 14-2
                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
01 Strickland,Dexter... *  0-2    0-0    4-6    1  2  3   1   4  4  2  0  2  38
05 Marshall,Kendall.... *  2-11   1-4    3-7    0  1  1   3   8  9  5  1  1  40
31 Henson,John......... *  8-13   0-1    2-4    4  7 11   2  18  0  5  2  2  38
40 Barnes,Harrison..... * 12-17   6-8   10-11   4  4  8   2  40  1  3  0  0  41
44 Zeller,Tyler........ *  6-12   0-0    2-2    3  3  6   4  14  2  0  0  0  36
02 McDonald,Leslie.....    2-6    1-3    0-0    0  3  3   4   5  0  0  0  1  16
24 Watts,Justin........    0-0    0-0    1-2    0  0  0   0   1  0  0  0  0   5
25 Knox,Justin.........    0-1    0-0    2-2    0  0  0   1   2  1  0  1  2  11
   TEAM................                         6  1  7
   Totals..............   30-62   8-16  24-34  18 21 39  17  92 17 15  4  8 225


TOTAL FG% 1st Half:  9-23 39.1%   2nd Half: 17-30 56.7%   OT:  4-9  44.4%   Game: 48.4%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  2-6  33.3%   2nd Half:  3-6  50.0%   OT:  3-4  75.0%   Game: 50.0%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  8-10 80.0%   2nd Half:  8-13 61.5%   OT:  8-11 72.7%   Game: 70.6%    4



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Officials: Les Jones, Roger Ayers, Tim Nestor
Technical fouls: #4 Clemson-None. #1 North Carolina-None.
Attendance: 23381
Score by Periods                1st  2nd   OT   Total
#4 Clemson....................   38   35   14  -   87
#1 North Carolina.............   28   45   19  -   92
Fouled out: Clemson #24 Jennings, M. at 0:50.1 in 1st OT

Points in the paint-CU 36,NC 40. Points off turnovers-CU 27,NC 15.
2nd chance points-CU 8,NC 29. Fast break points-CU 16,NC 4.
Bench points-CU 21,NC 8. Score tied-1 time. Lead changed-4 times.
Last FG-CU OT-00:11, NC OT-01:14.
Largest lead-CU by 14 1st-02:01, NC by 9 OT-02:37.

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