Vince Carter scored 20 points and Shammond Williams had nine over the final 2 minutes as No. 8 North Carolina beat No. 12 Clemson 76-69 Wednesday night at Clemson, S.C., to win 20 games for the NCAA-record 27th straight season.
Williams had 14 of his 16 points in the second half and Carter sparked the Tar Heels (20-6, 10-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) back from a 28-15 deficit to end February with an 8-0 record.
Clemson (20-8, 8-7) has lost four of five and is just 4-7 since jumping to No. 2 in the rankings last month.
UNC coach Dean Smith moved within five victories of tying the career record of Adolph Rupp at 876.
During their go-ahead spurt, the Tar Heels were 11 of 15 from the field.
“We were able to grasp the tempo, even though we were losing early,” Carter said. “We feel like we took their best shot and made it happen. I think that’s the sign of a good team.”
North Carolina’s Ed Cota, a freshman, finished with a career-high 15 points.
The Tigers close at Georgia Tech before next week’s ACC tournament. The Tar Heels go home to face Duke with a shot at the league crown.
(2) Minnesota 55, (24) Mich. 54
Minnesota clinched its first out-right Big Ten title since 1982 when Bobby Jackson’s free throw with 2.9 seconds remaining gave the Golden Gophers their victory over the Wolverines at Ann Arbor, Mich.
Jackson scored 18 points and Eric Harris added 12 for the Gophers (25-2, 14-1), who earned Minnesota’s first win in Crisler Arena since 1982 and the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
(6) S. Carolina 74, Vanderbilt 53
At Columbia, S.C., BJ McKie scored 18 points to help South Carolina capture at least a share of its first Southeastern Conference regular-season championship.
McKie hit his lone 3-pointer early in the first half to give the Gamecocks (22-6, 14-1) a 13-7 lead, and that was as close as the Commodores (17-10, 8-7) got the rest of the game.
(13) Iowa St. 65, (19) Colorado 54
At Ames, Iowa, Kenny Pratt scored 17 points and made two big plays to start a 10-0 second-half run that sent Iowa State over Colorado.
In the final home game for Pratt and Iowa State’s four other starters, the Cyclones (19-6, 10-5 Big 12) broke a two-game losing streak and pulled into a tie with Colorado and Texas for second place in the league.
The 54 points were a season-low in league play for Colorado (20-8, 10-5).
(17) Louisville 72, NC Charlotte 71
At Louisville, Ky., Alex Sanders scored five points in a 13-0 run as Louisville snapped North Carolina Charlotte’s six-game winning streak.
Sanders hit a short jumper and a 3-pointer from the corner as Louisville (22-6, 9-4 Conference USA) went from a 25-21 deficit with 2:58 left in the half to a 34-25 lead with 19:06 remaining.
North Carolina Charlotte (18-7, 9-4), trailing 49-38 with 8:09 to go, rallied behind the 3-point shooting of Sean Colson, Shanderic Downs, Versile Shaw and Roderick Howard. But the 49ers still trailed by four prior to Howard’s 3-pointer at the buzzer.
West Virginia 83, (18) Villanova 76
At Morgantown, W.Va., Adrian Pledger scored 22 points and Seldon Jefferson added 20 for West Virginia as the Mountaineers clinched their first winning season in their second year in the Big East.
West Virginia (17-8, 10-7) led by as many as 21 points before Villanova (20-8, 11-6) rallied late.
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