For a few moments on Tuesday night it was the 1995 ACC tournament all over again, the head coaches at North Carolina and Clemson coming face to face, the tension rising. Back then it was Dean Smith and Rick Barnes, needing to be separated by officials in the final minutes of a UNC victory.
This time, on Tuesday, it was Roy Williams and Brad Brownell. After UNC’s 89-86 overtime victory at Littlejohn Coliseum, Brownell angrily approached Williams in the handshake line. Brownell began yelling at Williams while waving his index finger in Williams’ face and gesturing aggressively.
The confrontation lasted only a few seconds, and Williams at one point appeared to apologize. Whether he did or not, though, he wouldn’t say. Neither Williams nor Brownell explained the scene during their postgame session with reporters.
“That was just something between me and Brad,” Williams said. “I’ll take care of it.”
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Unofficially, the word after the game was that Brownell became upset when a UNC player directed some words toward the Clemson bench in the final minutes of the Tar Heels’ victory. Some UNC players afterward, though, said they weren’t aware that Williams and Brownell exchanged words.
Kennedy Meeks, the senior forward, said he didn’t see Brownell confront Williams.