Final - 2OT
  for this game

North Carolina needs overtimes to set NCAA home record vs. Clemson

Feb 11, 2008 - 4:00 AM CHAPEL HILL, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Tyler Hansbrough and the shorthanded Tar Heels capped a furious rally with a dominant second overtime to prevent Clemson from its first win at North Carolina.

The junior forward netted a season-high 39 points and had 13 rebounds as the third-ranked Tar Heels outlasted the Tigers for the second time this season, 103-93, in an Atlantic Coast Conference thriller on Sunday.

Wayne Ellington added 28 points for the Tar Heels (22-2, 7-2 ACC), who broke an NCAA record by improving to 53-0 against the Tigers at home. It is the longest home winning streak over one opponent.

"That was an unbelievable game," North Carolina Roy Williams said. "I don't know what happened to us early, they hit us right between the eyes and we backed off a little bit too much.

"Tyler Hansbrough sprinting down the court knocking the ball lose and diving on the ball. I don't know how much longer I am going to coach him, but I'd like to coach that big sucker about thirteen more years. When he leaves I am going to consider myself the luckiest guy in the world to have coached him."

Playing its second straight game without starting point guard Ty Lawson, North Carolina trailed by as many as 15 midway through the second half before rallying to force overtime.

Clemson (17-6, 5-4) never trailed during regulation but saw its double-digit lead trimmed down to 79-77 after North Carolina went on a 9-0 spurt - capped by a 3-pointer by Danny Green - with 1:51 remaining.

After Cliff Hammonds hit a 3-pointer, Green again drilled a shot from the arc and Quentin Thomas scored on a driving layup with 25 seconds left to tie the game at 82-82. K.C. Rivers missed on a drive to the basket with under a second to play, extending the contest to extra periods.

"If I live to be 106, I won't be any more proud of a group of kids than I am that bunch right there," Williams said. "I think that when Danny made a couple of those threes, all of a sudden it is a five-point game and then you do really start believing. Then we were talking about one stop, we need one stop. We started to get a few more things out of our defense and got some traps and turnovers."

The Tar Heels took their first lead of the game in the first overtime but Terrence Oglesby's second 3-pointer gave the Tigers a 90-88 advantage with 48 seconds left. However, Thomas again tied the game on North Carolina's next possession and Clemson was not able to get a shot off with a chance to win it before the buzzer.

After a layup by David Potter cut Clemson's deficit to 94-93 with 2:05 left in the second extra period, the Tigers missed their final four shots from the field and North Carolina went 7-of-8 from the free-throw line down the stretch to seal the victory.

"Obviously a disappointing loss for us today where we led for much of the ballgame," Clemson coach Oliver Purnell said. "I thought our ability to really put pressure on them out on the perimeter early in the ballgame was important. I thought our defense really failed us there coming down the stretch. Other than Cliff (Hammonds) we got out of the attack mode and we seemed to be a step slow and tired."

Hansbrough, who fell one point shy of his career high, took over in the second overtime, scoring seven of North Carolina's 13 points in the final five minutes. Nine of those points came from the free-throw line.

"It's something that's great to be a part of tonight, is that victory," said Hansbrough, who was 11-of-16 from the field and 17-of-19 from the free-throw line. "We fought hard. There were some tough times in the first half, and luckily we fought and came back and got the win."

A senior, Hammonds had a career-high 31 points on 13-of-23 shooting for the Tigers, who dropped to 2-2 in overtime games in the ACC this season. Clemson lost the first meeting to North Carolina at home, 90-88, in overtime on January 6.

The Tigers jumped out to a quick 8-0 lead - keyed by consecutive 3-pointers from Hammonds - less than two minutes into the contest and Clemson held a 25-11 advantage with 10:24 left in the first half.

The Tar Heels did not get closer than six as Rivers connected on all four of his shots from the arc in the first half - including three on consecutive possessions - to pace the Tigers to a 45-34 lead at the break.

North Carolina shot just 38 percent (11-of-29) in the first half and committed 13 turnovers, while Clemson connected on 7-of-12 3-pointers.

"It's getting into the stretch of the season," Purnell said. "It's just very important that we put this one behind us and take the positives from it over this four-game stretch and play some really good basketball.

"You have to play basketball well for forty minutes to beat teams at this level. If we understand that and commit to doing that without backsliding then we will be fine."

North Carolina again closed within six but the Tigers responded with a 9-0 run - keyed by five points from freshman Demontez Stitt - to take a 60-45 bulge with 11:43 left.