CLEMSON - Even a refurbished Littlejohn Coliseum, a sellout crowd of over
10,500 and a spot on national television wasn't enough to help Clemson keep
No. 3 Duke in check Sunday.
The Blue Devils' (9-0, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) superior outside
shooting proved to be the difference, as Duke beat the Tigers 89-71 and ended
Clemson's season-opening winning streak at nine.
The game was brutally physical almost from the beginning, and at times seemed
on the verge of getting out of control. The teams combined for 54 fouls (27
each) and 60 free throw attempts (31 Duke, 29 Clemson).
One player from each team - the Tigers' Chris Hobbs and Duke's Casey Sanders
- fouled out, and a total of five others finished the game with four fouls.
Several times during the course of the evening one official or another found
it necessary to step between a players from each team and scold them for
rough play. Eventually Hobbs and Duke's Sheldon Williams each were hit with a
technical foul early in the second half after exchanging shoves following a
stoppage in play.
Moments later Sharrod Ford - irate at being called for a foul on a play in
which it appeared a Duke player pulled him to the floor - also was hit with a
technical after vocally registering his displeasure with the call, this after
emphatically slamming a hand on the floor.
J.J. Redick hit both technical free throws to put Duke ahead 60-45 with 13:20
to go, and the Blue Devils maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the
"I thought it was a hard, clean game," said Duke head coach Mike Krzyzweski.
"The big guys on both teams didn't score much...face it, when you've got that
much bulk in that little space it's tough. You're also going to get a lot of
fouls called, but again I thought the game was hard and clean.
"The coaches, players and officials from in the conference better get ready
for games like this."
The Blue Devils did what other Clemson opponents hadn't been able to
accomplish so far this season - burn the Tigers from the perimeter.
Paced by Redick (22 points), Duke shot 47-percent (11-of-23) from the 3-point
line, and finished the game 27-of-52 (52 percent) overall from the field.
Dahntay Jones hit 3-of-5 from the 3-point line and finished with 19 points.
Daniel Ewing came off the bench to score 17.
Clemson (9-1, 0-1) trailed just 38-36 with 3:23 left in the first half, but
Duke closed the half with an 8-2 run - five from Ewing on two free throws and
a 3-pointer - to go up 48-38 at the break.
"It just wasn't our night," Clemson head coach Larry Shyatt said. "Even at
38-36, the pace was too fast for us. Once they got ahead by 10, sometimes we
defended like we were down 20 and it cost us. We have to close out on defense
better and guard the ball more effectively.
"But I thought we played hard. I liked the way we attacked the basket to the
Duke's balance was enough to overcome a 28-point performance by Clemson
senior point guard Ed Scott. But Scott got little help, Tomas Nagys' 11
points being the only other double-figure effort by a Clemson player.
Until the late spurt, Clemson was able to hang with Duke for most of the
first half despite its problems defending the perimeter.
While the Tigers were able to pound the ball inside on the Blue Devils
offensively - getting nine of their 12 field goals in the paint - defensively
they couldn't stop Duke from finding open shots. The Blue Devils shot 57
percent (16-of-28) in the half, including 6-of-10 on 3-point attempts.
Redick hit two of his three attempts from behind the arc en route to 10
points in the half, while Ewing also went 2-of 3 from downtown.
The Tigers kept pace early behind Ford, who was a perfect 4-of-4 working
against Duke's interior defense. But the 6-foot-9 sophomore picked up his
second foul midway through the half and watched the rest from the Clemson
Hobbs, Nagys and Ray Henderson tried to pick up the slack as Clemson
continued pounding the ball inside. The trio combined for 13 points and eight
rebounds in the half.