CHAPEL HILL — During the montage played during lights-out introductions at the Smith Center, the images of each of the five Tar Heels starters are usually interspersed with the game clips. The solo shot of junior Larry Drew II replaced in the starting lineup Tuesday night by freshman Kendall Marshall was missing. But so was shooting guard Dexter Strickland, which was the first sign that more lineup changes may have been afoot. After the game, coach Roy Williams said that he originally planned to put forward Justin Knox and guard Leslie McDonald into the starting lineup, too. McDonald's injury changed that.
With 9:21 left in the first half, Clemson swingman Tanner Smith had to be helped off the court when he collided with Harrison Barnes beneath the UNC basket. It appeared to be a right leg injury. Except for teammate Demontez Stitts knee surgery which forced him to miss two games the Tigers had generally been able to avoid the injury bug.
Clemson coach Brad Brownell was quick to dismiss any notion that Carolina's win had something to do with a Clemson curse in Chapel Hill. "That wasn't a factor," he said. "We just played a very tough team in here."
The Tigers can even the score for this season on Feb. 12, when Carolina makes a trip to Littlejohn Coliseum for a noon return game. Brownell's record against UNC went to 0-5. The first four losses occurred when he coached at UNC-Wilmington from 2002 through 2006.