Tar Heels Lower the Boone on Tigers

CLEMSON, S.C. -- Littlejohn Coliseum was a turning point for the 2001 edition of the Tar Heels, who were upset and lost their No. 1 ranking. On Sunday evening, the 2002 Heels hoped it would again be a turning point -- in the positive direction. Following Adam Boone, who nailed four first half 3-pointers en route to a career day of 23 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, one block, and no turnovers, the Heels beat the Clemson Tigers, 87-69.

Carolina began the game aggressively as Jason Capel and Kris Lang scored two early baskets to take a 4-0 lead and the rest of the Tar Heels seemed to feed off the early success. Clemson scored a couple of baskets to stay within one-three points over the first five minutes, but then the Adam Boone Show began.

Boone drilled a long 3-pointer as the shot clock was running down to give Carolina an 11-7 advantage. Over the next three minutes, he would add two more bombs from the outside -- including one which he insists was an intentional bank shot -- to widen the Carolina lead to 17-8 with 11:53 remaining in the half.

Boone continued to drive, dish and score as the Heels maintained control of the game throughout the first half, answering every Tiger flurry with sound ball movement and good shooting. After Clemson cut the Carolina lead to 22-18 on two free throws by Tomas Nagys, the Heels answered with a 5-0 run and never let Clemson any closer than five points throughout the rest of the game.

As Boone was having his stellar game, his teammates were playing efficient basketball as well. Melvin Scott, put together one of his finest games in a Carolina uniform scoring 17 points with four assists and no turnovers.

Jason Capel, playing for the first time since a concussion almost two weeks ago, posted seven points and five rebounds in 27 minutes of action.

Carolina began the second half with a 45-38 advantage and maintained a lead of around 10 points over the first 7:30 of the second half.

After Adam Boone swooped in to block a Tomas Nagys shot, the Heels put together a short run to take a 61-46 lead which effectively broke the game open. Over the last 10 minutes of the game, Carolina gradually increased the lead to its highest point of 82-56. The Tar Heels held the Tigers to 38% shooting for the game and did not allow them the second chance opportunities which have been plaguing Carolina all season.

While the guard combination of Boone and Scott were putting together a 40 point, 14 rebound and 1 turnover afternoon, the frontcourt was doing its part as well. Kris Lang, Brian Bersticker, and Jawad Williams all made key contributions throughout the day. Each time Clemson hit a shot and seemed poised to make a run, somebody wearing blue made a steal, snared a rebound, or hit a big shot to keep the Heels ahead and the Tigers at bay.

"We had to be smart today," said a relieved Matt Doherty. "There were too many errors in the N.C. State game. We deserve some breaks, we've been through a lot this season. Clemson deserves some breaks, too, they're going through a hard time right now, too."

Overall, this was the most efficient outing of the ACC season for the Heels, who valued the basketball, (only 10 turnovers) rebounded well, (37-39, Clemson advantage) and shot well (55% for the game and 60% in the 2nd half).

Jamar McKnight led the Tigers with 21 points on 7-16 shooting.

As always in the ACC, no good game goes unpunished as the Tar Heels await a visit from arch-rival and No. 1-ranked Duke on Thursday night.

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