Despite 27 points from senior guard Brandon Robinson, the UNC men's basketball team (8-8, 1-4 ACC) was defeated by Clemson (8-7, 2-3 ACC) in overtime on Saturday, 79-76. The win by the Tigers was Clemson's first ever in Chapel Hill, ending a 59-game streak by UNC.
North Carolina managed to take advantage of Clemson’s 2-14 shooting from the field to open the game and slowly build a lead piece by piece. Among other bu kets, a 3-pointer from Robinson, an open layup by Andrew Platek and a few trips to the free throw line saw UNC leading 17-8 midway through the first half.
An and-1 from John Newman III and Tevin Mack’s sharpshooting helped the Tigers claw their way back into the game, 25-21, before Robinson drained a 3-pointer and knocked down a pair of free throws to kill Clemson’s momentum. Robinson finished the half 19 points on 7-10 shooting from the field, and the Tar Heels carried a 39-29 lead into the break.
Back-to-back makes from behind the arc in a 30-second span spurred a comeback effort by the Tigers in the opening minutes of the second half and cut UNC's lead to 45-39.
The two teams traded blows for the majority of the second half before UNC pulled away. Even with the midcourt logo, Robinson found himself with the ball and a Clemson defender that was sagging off inside the 3-point line. The senior drained the deep shot, and with 5:25 left to play, knocked down another 3-pointer, blowing the roof off the building and giving North Carolina a 66-55 lead.
However, Clemson fought back and capitalized on some sloppy play by the Tar Heels to make it a one-point game with less than 20 seconds remaining. Robinson knocked down a pair of free throws to put North Carolina up by three, but a dagger by Simms tied the game with less four seconds left. Robinson missed a possible game-winner, sending the contest into overtime.
Clemson controlled much of the overtime period, and after a missed Robinson 3-point attempt at the buzzer, the Tar Heels' home streak was over and the team fell to 1-4 in ACC play.