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Saturday, February 18, 2012
Rapid Reaction: UNC 74, Clemson 52

By Robbi Pickeral

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- A quick look at seventh-ranked North Carolina’s 74-52 win over Clemson at the Smith Center on Saturday:

What it means: That “The Streak” continues. Clemson remains 0-for-forever in Chapel Hill; UNC has now topped the Tigers there 56 straight times, dating back to 1926. It extends the longest home winning streak in a series in NCAA history

How it happened: Clemson had lost ACC road games by two, three, four and two points this season -- but not this time, because it never got that close down the stretch. The Tigers took an early 7-2 lead before the Tar Heels ripped off a Harrison Barnes-led 21-4 run to take a 23-11 lead. UNC dominated the boards, while Clemson shot only 32.1 percent, and the only reason the Tigers trailed by only single digits (31-22) at halftime was point guard Andre Young’s 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Clemson stuck around in the second half, too, cutting its deficit to as little as six points with about 12 minutes left. And even when UNC pushed its lead to nine, 10, 11, the Tigers kept countering --until Tyler Zeller scored on a putback, Barnes and John Henson each made a free throw, and Barnes made another jump shot to give UNC a 66-49 cushion with about three minutes left.

Barnes led the Tar Heels with 24 points, Zeller added 14 and point guard Kendall Marshall finished with 13 assists.

Clemson, which shot 37.5 percent for the game, got 13 points from Young.

Number to know: The Tar Heels -- who are always trying to score more points off free throws than their opponents attempt -- didn't have an attempt in the first half, and went 6-for-8 for the game. Their fewest attempts this season before that? When they tried only 10 foul shots (and made eight) in a win over Long Beach State in December.

What’s next: The Tar Heels will play at N.C. State on Tuesday. The Tigers will play at Georgia Tech on Tuesday

Follow Robbi Pickeral on Twitter at @bylinerp.