In college sports, there are a number of lopsided in-conference “rivalries.” In the ACC, one of those is North Carolina and Clemson, where the Tar Heels had never lost at home to their neighbors to the south.
Entering Saturday, Clemson was 0-59 in the Dean Dome and, despite this being North Carolina’s worst team in years, Clemson went to Chapel Hill as 4-point underdogs. Early on, it looked like it would be another UNC romp, as the Tar Heels went up 39-29 at halftime as the Tigers struggled to find a rhythm.
The Tar Heels maintained that same 10-point lead with just over two minutes to play, but Clemson made a late rally in the second half capped off by a three by Aamir Simms with seconds to play to tie the game at 70 and force overtime. In overtime, Clemson continued to play the stout defense they showed to close the half, holding UNC to just six points. They only scored nine, but it was enough in the five minute period that ended with the Tar Heels getting a pair of three-pointers off in the final possession — both well contested — that drew iron.
THE DROUGHT IS OVER.
— FOX Sports South (@FOXSportsSouth) January 11, 2020
It’s a massive win for Clemson, but also illustrates how bad things have gotten for the Cole Anthony-less Tar Heels this season. They fall to 8-8 on the season and are struggling to play themselves into the NCAA Tournament, much less the title contention they hoped they might be in entering the season — as is the expectation in Chapel Hill.
Even in a down year, it’s a huge moment for Clemson’s program, which has never exactly enjoyed the spotlight, especially lately with their football team becoming a powerhouse.