North Carolina wasn't able to cross the 100-point, biscuit-special threshold on Wednesday night against Clemson, but the Heels did roll to a dominant 94-70 victory over the Tigers in Chapel Hill.
The Tigers retained their perfectly inept record at Carolina, dropping to 0-54 all-time in Chapel Hill. That's the longest winning streak of that nature in Division I basketball, and it's especially impressive given that the Tigers have amassed a solid basketball program over the past half-century.
Though the second half didn't look like it, Wednesday night actually was a matchup of top-10 teams.
The game began with hot shooting by both clubs, and Clemson guard Terrence Oglesby — whom some fans sitting under the pressbox affectionately named "Turd" — caught fire in the opening minutes.
The Heels dug in their, ugh, heels defensively at the opening of the second half, however, and shortly thereafter the game was a rout. Overall, Clemson shot just 35 percent from the field while UNC shot a scorching 53 percent.
On an individual basis, junior guard Wayne Ellington may have had the best game of his college career. Ellington historically has poached the Tigers, including hitting a dramatic game-winner at Clemson last season, and on this occasion he played a brilliantly complete game.
He scored 25 points on 9-for-15 shooting and added seven assists and six rebounds. With versatile wing Marcus Ginyard still out with a slow-healing foot, Ellington's diverse contributions have become particularly vital.
Meanwhile, Tyler Hansbrough got roughed up but still managed 20 points and 10 rebounds, while junior big man Deon Thompson scored 15 points and appeared to gain confidence as the game progressed. Ty Lawson navigated Clemson's pressure and chipped in 16 points, seven assists and only two turnovers.
But the real story of this game was the improved body language and overall enthusiasm of the team. The wounded club that emerged from back-to-back ACC losses had appeared to be laboring under the pressure of the unfair expectations placed on them from the onset of the season, and clearly a point of emphasis going into Clemson was to have fun.
Deon Thompson smiled. Wayne Ellington and Ty Lawson smiled. Tyler Hansbrough did something funny with his arms and legs in a satisfied way. These second half Heels from both the Miami and Clemson games looked like the guys who beat up Michigan State and Notre Dame in December.
Roy Williams certainly seems attuned to his team's mental state, based on numerous quotes he has made in recent days. After the game last night, he said, "It was good to have a little bit more spring in Deon's step, there's no question about that. Wayne for the second game in a row got it going again. …"
Behind the simple stats, a glance at Ken Pomeroy's excellent statistical site — it's the 538.com of the college basketball world — reveals that the Heels are the nation's No. 2 team overall, ranking No. 1 on offense and No. 11 on defense.
Who's No. 1, you ask? Why, that would be Duke. …
To see the UNC/Clemson box score, click here.