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The Daily Tar Heel

Solomon Avenges Round 1

Will Solomon evened the score with Joseph Forte by scoring 26 points and holding Forte to 6-of-19 shooting.

Clemson's junior shooting guard scored 26 points to lead his team to a

75-65 upset of No. 1 North Carolina.

"I took shots that I normally take and they just went in," said Solomon, who shot 9-for-21 from the field and made

5-of-12 behind the 3-point line.

Solomon, the ACC's leading scorer at 21.3 points per game, also helped hold Joseph Forte, his closest competition in the scoring race at 21.2, without a field goal in the first half and harassed him into a 6-for-19 shooting game.

Forte, who finished with 16 points, scored 14 to lead UNC to a 92-65 victory in Round 1 back on Jan. 17 at the Smith Center. Solomon scored 17 in that game as he and Forte traded verbal barbs.

There was less trash talking Sunday afternoon at Littlejohn Coliseum.

"It wasn't so much talking, I just told him it's payback," Solomon said. "He had his words and he had his game that night. I told him he still had to come here."

But Solomon didn't come out swinging from the start. In fact, he didn't start at all. Solomon missed a class Wednesday, so Clemson coach Larry Shyatt upheld the team policy and didn't allow him to start.

Solomon checked into the game with 17:12 remaining in the first half and knocked down a 3-pointer. Then he went cold, finishing the first half 3-for-8 with eight points and a technical foul that he picked up by bumping Forte with an elbow after Forte fouled him.

Solomon said Forte stuck out his elbow as he walked by.

That was about all that stuck out for Forte in the first half. He couldn't get open against Clemson's triangle-and-two and box-and-one defenses. He missed all four of his field goal attempts and scored his only point after hitting one of the free throws after Solomon's technical.

North Carolina coach Matt Doherty had to sit Forte after he picked up his second personal foul with 13 minutes left in the first half.

Forte finally got on track after intermission. He converted his first field goal of the day with 14:10 left in the game and then scored eight of UNC's next 13 points.

"I didn't really play the first half," said Forte, who finished with 16. "I played sporadic minutes, and I had sporadic play. The second half, I kind of got my rhythm but it just wasn't enough."

It wasn't enough because Forte's counterpart, Solomon, experienced even more of a hot streak. He accounted for 13 of Clemson's first 17 points in the second stanza, shooting 5-for-7 (3-for-4 behind the arc) during that stretch.

He scored 10 straight at one point.

"I think Will got going and was tough to stop there in the second half," Doherty said.

Yet Forte still had a chance to keep the Tar Heels in the game and gain win No. 2 against Solomon and the Tigers.

Clemson led 64-62 with 1:20 left when Forte drove the lane and released one of his trademark runners from eight feet. It rimmed out.

"He's entitled to miss one of those --just one -- this year," Doherty said.

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"That's his one."

Clemson's Chris Hobbs grabbed the rebound, and the Tigers never looked back.

Solomon had exacted his revenge. He left the court as Clemson's fans rushed onto it, preferring to celebrate by jumping up and down and hugging a teammate in the tunnel.

Forte walked off a bit slower, still in shock of what had transpired. There were no hugs, but not because his teammates were down on him.

"Everybody has bad games. Michael Jordan has bad games," UNC center Brendan Haywood said. "We're not going to worry about that. Joe will probably go for 30 next game."

The Sports Editor can be reached at