One of the longest, most bizarre streaks in college basketball history is over. For the first time in program history, Clemson defeated North Carolina in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, beating the Tar Heels 79-76 in overtime on Saturday. The Tigers were 0-59 all-time in games played at UNC, including 0-28 at the Dean E. Smith Center, which opened in January 1986.
Clemson needed overtime to do it, but in the extra period, it outscored UNC 9-6 to earn the historic victory. The Tigers' Aamir Simms hit a 3-pointer with 3.5 seconds remaining to force OT as Clemson outscored the Tar Heels 12-2 in the final 1:55 of regulation. Simms led the Tigers (8-7, 2-3 ACC) with 20 points.
The 59 consecutive games UNC won over Clemson at home was the NCAA's longest all-time winning streak by one team at home vs. one opponent.
"The loss is my fault. No question, no doubt in my mind," said UNC coach Roy Williams after the game lamenting the fact that he didn't direct his team to foul when they were up three in the closing moments of the second half. "I've had some great moments as a coach, and I'd say right now this is my lowest one because losing this game was my fault. If I die tomorrow or 20 years from now, that'll be the biggest regret I have in 32 years as a coach."
UNC was without freshman guard Jeremiah Francis, who was ruled out earlier on Saturday with a knee injury. Francis has been UNC's primary ball-handler since starting point guard Cole Anthony went down with a knee injury in December. Anthony hasn't played in a game since Dec. 8.
The loss comes less than a week removed from Williams dubbing this UNC team the "least gifted team" he's ever coached since he's been at North Carolina. Since then, UNC has lost two games in ACC play adding to its three-game losing streak.
North Carolina's Brandon Robinson had a career-high 27 points the Tar Heels but his 3-point attempt that would have tied the game missed at the buzzer as the Tar Heels (8-8, 1-4 ) lost for the third consecutive game leaving Williams tied with his mentor, Dean Smith, fourth on the list of all-time coaching victories with 879.