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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Brad Brownell kept telling his Clemson players that they were a better team than their results had shown so far with their NCAA tournament hopes in question.

Taking down No. 3 North Carolina on the road for only the second time in program history certainly helps drive home that message.

PJ Hall had 25 points along with the go-ahead putback with 3:14 left as the Tigers stunned the Tar Heels 80-76 on Tuesday night, earning a marquee win despite blowing a 16-point lead.

"We just held on," Brownell said, adding: "But our guys finished, which was really nice to see."

Joseph Girard III added 21 points for the Tigers (15-7, 5-6 ACC), including a huge 3-pointer at the 2:09 mark to follow Hall's basket. The Tigers never trailed yet had to fight to the final seconds to secure the win against the Tar Heels (18-5, 10-2), who were coming off an emotional rivalry win against No. 9 Duke three days earlier.

"Just keep playing, man," Hall said of Brownell's message. "Keep playing, believe in ourselves, believe we're a good team and know the guy beside you wants to win just as much as you."

Clemson has only one other road win vs. an AP top-three opponent in program history: Jan. 1976 vs. No. 2 Maryland.

Armando Bacot had 24 points and 13 rebounds, his 78th career double-double, to lead UNC. He inched closes to Ralph Sampson (84) for the second most in ACC history. RJ Davis added 22 points, and with his 17th point of the night (first free throw with 6:30 left), he reached 1,789 career points, passing Michael Jordan for the 15th-most points in North Carolina history.

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