Blue Devils attempt to continue mastery of Tigers
Clemson, SC (Sports Network) – The Duke Blue Devils have won their last 20
meetings with the Clemson Tigers, and that streak is obviously on the line in
today’s ACC clash.
After falling out of the national poll last week, Duke is back i the top-25
and has reached the 20-win plateau for the 11th consecutive season. After
beating Boston College on the road last Wednesday, the Blue Devils returned
home to post a 71-62 decision over Georgia Tech on Sunday.
Clemson has lost five of its last six games to fall to 19-7 overall and 5-7 in
league play. The Tigers were the last remaining unbeaten team at the Division
I level at 17-0, but they have gone downhill in a hurry and are now in
jeopardy of missing the NCAA Tournament. On Sunday, they were handled
easily by Maryland, 82-66, in front of a disappointed home crowd.
Duke holds a dominant 98-27 series advantage over Clemson, and the Blue
Devils recorded a 68-66 decision over the Tigers on January 25th by virtue of
a controversial last-second shot.
Duke turned the ball over 18 times against Georgia Tech on Sunday and suffered
a 36-28 rebounding advantage. Fortunately, the Blue Devils were able to force
22 giveaways while earning a decisive 18-3 advantage in points from the foul
line. Greg Paulus led Duke with 15 points and five assists, and Jon Scheyer
pitched in 14 points despite a 4-of-13 shooting effort from the field.
DeMarcus Nelson rounded out a trio of double-digit scorers with 13 points,
while Josh McRoberts was limited to six points and four rebounds. Nelson is
averaging 14.0 ppg, and he is a strong leader for the squad. McRoberts checks
in with 13.1 ppg, 7.9 rpg and 99 assists, proof of his versatility. Scheyer
adds to the depth and is posting 12.3 ppg as a freshman. Paulus is scoring
10.1 ppg and has handed out 105 assists.
Clemson put forth a poor defensive effort in the loss to Maryland on Sunday,
as the Tigers permitted the Terps to shoot 56.1 percent from the floor. A
16-10 deficit in points from the foul line also hurt the cause, and Clemson
was also outscored 46-24 in the paint. Leading the way in defeat was Cliff
Hammonds, as he finished with 16 points and 10 assists for the Tigers. Trevor
Booker added 12 points in the loss, while James Mays and Vernon Hamilton
tallied 10 points apiece. Mays is averaging 13.2 ppg and 6.7 rpg this season,
and his 54 steals are also a team high. K.C. Rivers adds 13.0 ppg off the
bench, and Hamilton is contributing 12.5 ppg. Clemson’s fourth and final
double-digit scorer is Hammonds with 11.4 ppg to go along with 3.9 apg.