CLEMSON, South Carolina (Ticker) -- With its winning streak over, North Carolina and Sean May needed a half to find their dominant form.
May scored eight of his 11 points in the second half and Rashad McCants finished with 23 as sixth-ranked North Carolina eventually pulled away for a 77-58 victory over Atlantic Coast Conference foe Clemson.
After absorbing a season-opening loss to Santa Clara, the Tar Heels strung together 14 straight wins until Saturday's 95-82 loss at No. 3 Wake Forest.
Still reeling from the tough loss, a very talented North Carolina club allowed Clemson to stick around in the first half despite 36 percent (11-of-31) shooting. The Tar Heels committed 16 of their 23 turnovers before the intermission.
"In this league you have to be ready to play every night, and they were more aggressive than us and really took it to us in the first half," North Carolina coach Roy Williams said. "We were not ready for their intensity early in the game."
With the score tied, 27-27, at the break, the Tar Heels woke up and scored the first 11 points of the second half. May had six during the run, and pushed the score to 40-29 on a dunk with 14:31 remaining.
McCants, who had six points in the opening period, added consecutive 3-pointers and a dunk within a 78-second span for a 48-34 advantage with 11:25 left. The Tigers got no closer than 13 points after that.
"It wasn't the happiest halftime locker room we have ever had for the coaching staff, but our guys came out and played very focused in the second half," Williams said. "We were much more pleased in the second half. Rashad McCants hit some big threes for us and we were able to beat the pressure and get some easy ones after halftime."
The Tar Heels, who entered the game leading the nation in scoring at 92.9 points per game and ranked eighth in field goal percentage (51.3), shot 53 percent (17-of-32) after halftime and 12-of-16 at the stripe.
"In the second half, the intensity level wasn't the same as the first half," Clemson coach Oliver Purnell said. "Cliff (Hammonds) made key shots, the team didn't get in the press early, our transition offense was key, our guard play was not good and it hurt us."
Marvin Williams scored 12 points off the bench, Raymond Felton had 11 along with 10 rebounds and Jawad Williams chipped in 10 for North Carolina (15-2, 3-1 ACC), which won at Littlejohn Coliseum for just the third time in its last seven contests.
Cheyenne Moore, who shot 4-of-6 on 3-pointers, and Sharrod Ford scored 14 points apiece for the Tigers (10-7, 1-4), who converted 34 percent (20-of-59) from the floor in losing for the fourth time in their last five games.
Hammonds chipped in seven points for Clemson, which had its starting five outscored by North Carolina's by a 62-42 margin.
"They are very deep," said Purnell about the Tar Heels' club. "Especially at the point guard position and that gave us a lot of problems."