CHAPEL HILL — No. 8 North Carolina defeated Clemson 74-52 here on Saturday at the Smith Center. Some thoughts and observations after the Tar Heels improved to 56-0 at home against the Tigers:
Updated 8:34 p.m.
CHAPEL HILL — Outside of that 33-point loss at Florida State on Jan. 14, North Carolina coach Roy Williams has mostly liked his team’s defensive effort and intensity. Now he’s starting to appreciate the Tar Heels’ defensive execution, too.
UNC’s 74-52 victory against Clemson at the Smith Center on Saturday wasn’t always pretty, and the Tar Heels’ defense was a primary reason why. The Heels (23-4, 10-2) held the Tigers (13-13, 5-7) without a field goal during the final 7 minutes, 42 seconds, and UNC held Clemson to 37.5 percent shooting overall.
It was the third consecutive game in which No. 8 North Carolina held its opponent to less than 40 percent shooting, and it continued the Heels’ recent trend of defensive improvement. Even when the Tar Heels entered the season as the favorite to win the national title, critics questioned their defense.
Now it’s becoming a strength.