Blue Devils Tame Tigers in ACC Opener

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Turning Point

Duke set the tone in the first half, leading 30-12 at the break after holding Clemson to 17% shooting from the floor (5-30).  However, the Tigers opened the second half on an 11-0 run and the turning point came in Duke’s response to the spurt.  First came a layup from Nolan off a turnover, followed by a basket by after Mason off an offensive rebound.  Then, Jon stole the inbound pass in the backcourt and quickly drilled a 3-pointer, pushing the lead up to 42-25 with 13:52 left.

Blue Devil Ballers

Struggling on the court?  Need buckets?  Call the law offices of Scheyer, Singler and Smith.  “The firm” was working overtime on a Sunday tonight, outscoring the entire Clemson team with 60 points (22 each for Nolan and Jon, 16 for Kyle).

Duke Data

23-2 – Duke’s record in our last 25 games against Clemson

3-0 – Duke’s record against ranked foes this season (winning the three games by an average of 21.7 points)

13-1 –Duke record in our last 14 ACC openers

.167 – Clemson’s field-goal percentage in the first half (5-30), the second-lowest total for an ACC opponent in Duke history

Coach K’s Comments

“I’m proud of our guys.  I thought we played very well.  It’s tough to single out one guy.  We played very well defensively and then they missed some open shots too.  It’s always a case of you have to play well and if they hit them then at least you’re playing well, but they missed some open ones.  I thought we kept our poise very well at the start of the second half.  They got run outs and we missed a couple of open shots, two open threes, that led to them scoring.  When we called the timeout we just said, ‘We have to keep shooting and keep playing because it’s not like we’re making a lot of mistakes’.  It’s just we’re missing shots and they’re a quick team and [Demontez] Stitt can really take that ball down the court.  We regained our composure and every conference game is a big win.  It’s especially nice with so many of our former players back to be honored (for the 50th anniversary of Duke’s first ACC championship team) and to have Coach [Vic] Bubas here.  He was writing down something so I wonder if he was rating me.  If he was I’ll take all the advice he has because he’s one of the great coaches.  He’s the one who first of all showed that you could win big at Duke.  I’ve always considered him a very close friend and mentor for me.  So to have him and his wife here tonight makes that even more special.”

Locker Room Reaction

The Blue Devils appeared to play the first half with some payback in mind after losing at Clemson last time out against the Tigers.  Although the Devils outscored Clemson 30-12 in that opening stanza and rolled to a 21-point, the team was more pleased about starting the ACC season with a solid win.  Said Kyle, “I guess you could say [last year's game at Clemson] was in the back of our heads, but it is a new year, different games, different teams.  I think we did want to send a message.  It was our first ACC game, so we were very excited to play, and it was kind of ironic that it was against Clemson.  We wanted to get out to a good start.  Our first half, even though we were kind of sloppy and turning the ball over, I thought we played very well.”

Sixth Man

There were 43 fouls called in the game and the Crazies did not seem to agree with all of the whistles.  At one point, a Crazie offered her glasses to an official.  Also, the Crazies seemed to think one of the officials looked like Mario from old-school Nintendo lore and didn’t mind sharing the sentiment with the ref.  At the end of the day, though, it looks like our Sixth Man and the officials made amends.  On a completely unrelated note, a ferocious beast was seen in the crowd.

Around the Web

Box Score — Stat recap

AP recap — Duke beats Clemson

Duke D Stifles Clemson — Devils hold Clemson to 12 in first half, 53 in game

Quotes — Coach K and player reactions

Notes

*Duke’s 1960 ACC championship team was honored at halftime.  Here’s a great article on the team by Al Featherston.

*The 70th anniversary of Cameron was also recognized with a tribute video at halftime.

*Next up: Duke heads to Chicago to take on Iowa State at the United Center on Wednesday (9:00 EST on ESPN2).

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