Clemson’s defensive deficiencies, something coach Brad Brownell has mentioned time and again this season, were on full display in the second half of their 82-64 loss to 7th ranked Duke Tuesday night in the final appearance for retiring Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski at Littlejohn Coliseum. Duke shot over 60% for most of the second half and had an answer for every Clemson run.
Duke led 38-27 at the half, a half that turned on a Flagrant Two foul on Clemson’s David Collins who wiped out Wendell Moore as he went up for a slam dunk off a turnover. Moore came down hard on his back but was fine. Collins was ejected from the game, but not before he was led over to the Duke bench by coach Brad Brownell to apologize.
At the time of the incident, Clemson was only down seven. Now, the Tigers would be without Collins for the rest of the game, after also being without Hunter Tyson who is sidelined with a broken clavicle.
The Tigers did manage to close to within 45-40 with 16:38 to play. But the Blue Devils lit up the Clemson defense over the next eight minutes with a 20-6 run to put the game away. Duke hit 8 of 11 shots during that stretch beginning with five straight layups. They also knocked down a pair of three-pointers and finished it off with a dunk. At the same time, Clemson went 2 of 12 from the field.
Duke finished with a 49% shooting night with nine three-pointers. They outscored the Tigers in the paint 34-26. Clemson finished at 38% for the night.
Freshman Trevor Keels, who missed the Blue Devil’s two-point win over the Tigers at Cameron Indoor Stadium last month due to injury, led the Duke scoring parade matching his career high with 25 points. PJ Hall led the Tigers with 17 points his 23rd straight game scoring in double figures.
Clemson has now lost three in a row to Duke which leads the all-time series 112-32. Unless they meet in the ACC Tournament, Krzyzewski will finish with a 60-14 lifetime record vs the Tigers.
The Tigers are 12-12 overall and 4-9 in the ACC. They will host Notre Dame Saturday night.