UNC Basketball: Luke Maye blames himself for Clemson loss


Junior Luke Maye takes the blame for the Tar Heels loss at Clemson on Tuesday night

Tuesday night didn’t go as planned for the North Carolina Tar Heels basketball team.

They entered the game short-handed with Jalek Felton being suspended, then lost senior wing Theo Pinson just minutes into the game.

As for the game, the Tar Heels struggled to defend the perimeter giving up 15 three-pointers to Clemson. They fell behind by 16 at halftime but mounted a comeback that fell short despite tying it late in the game.

Graduate transfer Cam Johnson scored a career-high 32 points in the losing effort and senior point guard Joel Berry added 27.

The two combined for 57 of UNC’s 78 points in the game. The rest of the team combined for just 19 total points.

That included junior Luke Maye who finished with just 4 points. Maye shot 2-of-8 from the field and grabbed nine rebounds but he was nonexistent for the most part.

Both of Maye’s buckets came in the first four minutes of the game with UNC trailing 9-6 early on.

Following the game, Maye took the loss pretty hard.

The junior put the loss on himself, taking responsibility for the team’s third-straight loss.

“I need to play better,” Maye said via Inside Carolina. “I need to do the small things to help my team win.”

The past three games have been rough for the Tar Heels as they now sit 5-5 in Atlantic Coast Conference play with eight games to go.

Last week they fell at Virginia Tech, giving up 12 three-pointers in a blowout loss. On Saturday, they dropped a tough one to NC State in double overtime.

UNC led by six late against the Wolfpack but couldn’t get the one crucial stop that they needed to seal the game.

Then there is Clemson.

After beating the Tigers just under two weeks ago, UNC came out flat and couldn’t recover to earn the win. It was another disappointing result as the Tar Heels are now in danger of not earning a double-bye in the ACC Tournament.

For Maye, he knows these past three games are unacceptable for the program.

“We can’t take losing. Losing is not acceptable, especially at this place,” Maye said via IC. “I am going to take this on myself and really get back in the gym and see what we can improve.”

The Tar Heels will have to wait until Saturday to return to the court. They will host a Pitt team that is currently winless in ACC play.

Following that game, the Tar Heels will have a crucial stretch of three games in five days beginning with Duke on Feb. 8, then at NC State on Feb. 10 and finally hosting Notre Dame on Feb. 12.

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It’s safe to say UNC has to go 3-1 in these next four games to get back on track.