Clemson looked the part of an NCAA Tournament team for the majority of its game Saturday, but the Tigers ran out of steam late as Harrison Barnes scored 40 points to lead North Carolina to its second straight comeback win in the ACC Tournament.
Clemson jumped out to a 14-3 lead and held a 10-point edge at the half.
The Tar Heels steadily trimmed the deficit in the second half, but the Tigers were able to respond to every North Carolina run for the majority of the half.
Clemson led by seven with just over two minutes to go, but the Tar Heels closed regulation with a 7-0 to force overtime. Demontez Stitt had a chance to win the game for Clemson with a tough jumper at the buzzer but didn't draw iron.
North Carolina opened the extra period with a 9-0 run, and the Tigers couldn't recover, falling 92-87.
John Henson posted a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Tar Heels, and Tyler Zeller added 14, including a jump hook with 32 seconds left in regulation to tie the game and force overtime.
Stitt led Clemson with 25 points. Milton Jennings scored 16 off the bench, and Tanner Smith and Andre Young each had 14 points.
Clemson coach Brad Brownell said he thought Barnes was the difference in the game.
"Barnes was outstanding," Brownell said. "We couldn't guard him. We couldn't stop him. He was a real difference maker for them."
Brownell was adamant about his team's play and worthiness of an NCAA Tournament bid.
"The thing that bothers me ... is that not enough is written about Clemson," he said. "I'm constantly reading about other teams. Hopefully somebody is following us, because we've played pretty darn well."
Smith leads Duke past Virginia Tech
Nolan Smith scored 27 points and Duke knocked Virginia Tech out of the ACC Tournament to advance to the finals against North Carolina.
The Blue Devils shot 47.2 percent from the field en route to a 77-63 victory over the Hokies.
Duke built an 11-point halftime lead and maintained a comfortable margin throughout the second half.
Kyle Singler chipped in 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Blue Devils, who will face No. 1 seed North Carolina on Sunday.
Malcolm Delaney scored 19 and Erick Green 17 for Virginia Tech, but the Hokies made just 2 of 16 from three-point range.
Jeff Allen, the Hokies' second leading scorer, fouled out and had just two points in 26 minutes.