In the first half of Clemson and North Carolina's Wednesday night contest, Tiger sophomore guard Tony Stockman exploded for 28 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the floor. All of his made baskets were 3-pointers.
In the second half, 1-of-6 shooting, no 3s.
Invasion of the body snatchers, anyone?
"I was really hot," said Stockman, who tied career bests in made field goals, 3s and total points (30). "It was fun while it lasted."
Problem was, it didn't last beyond the first 20 minutes.
Stockman singlehandedly kept Clemson in the game in the first half, leading the charge to cut into North Carolina's 19-point lead, the largest of the half.
He hit back-to-back 3s, his fourth and fifth of the half, and sank four straight free throws after getting fouled by Jackie Manuel and Melvin Scott. Stockman's 10-0 run against the Tar Heels cut their lead to nine.
North Carolina came back, but the team couldn't escape the half without giving up three more Stockman 3s -- his new career high.
But then, halftime came and went. So did Stockman's game.
"Better defense. More alertness," said UNC coach Matt Doherty to explain the difference. "They run a play that we run. We just weren't alert to it."
Doherty decided to assign Manuel to the task of guarding Stockman to take advantage of the 6-foot-5 Manuel and his long arms to eliminate the open looks Stockman had.
Scott and Adam Boone, both 6-2, drew much of the defensive duty in the first half.
"I'm thinking I've got to try to make it as hard as possible for him to get his shot off," said Manuel of his defensive plan against Stockman.
It worked. Stockman's shots wouldn't fall when he would get them off, but the Tar Heels only allowed him to take two shots from behind the arc.
One of those 3s, taken from the right wing under pressure, sailed four feet over the basket with 6:06 remaining in the game.
Stockman didn't see as much time in the second half, either.
He played three less minutes than he had in the first because he was tired.
Stockman said he became tired in the first half but didn't come out of the game because he was shooting so well.
Said Boone when asked if he could tell that Stockman was tired in the second half, "I want to say yes, but I saw him hit shots when he was tired, too."
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