DURHAM, N.C. (AP) -- Pushed, bumped, slapped and knocked down in
the first half, J.J. Redick decided to alter his approach.
He started using a pump fake more, and teammate Shelden Williams
helped out with a few timely screens. Suddenly, Redick was getting
"I just told myself at one point, 'This isn't going to work,
but this is," he said. "I had to adjust."
Redick had 20 of his 24 points in the second half and role
player Lee Melchionni made two clutch 3-pointers, helping No. 6
Duke rally past Clemson 62-54 Sunday night in the Atlantic Coast
Conference opener for both teams.
Williams finished with 13 points and 16 rebounds for the Blue
Devils (9-0), who won their 18th straight over the Tigers. The
previous victories were by an average margin of 17 points, but this
one was close throughout, mostly because of the absence of Duke
forwards Shavlik Randolph and Reggie Love.
Randolph is out indefinitely with mononucleosis, and his
replacement, Love, left in the first half with what coach Mike
Krzyzewski called a possible broken foot. That left the Blue Devils
dangerously thin up front, and the Tigers (9-4) took advantage.
"This was a heck of an ACC game," Krzyzewski said.
Clemson took the lead on a layup by James Mays, and Akin
Akingbala then went 3-of-4 from the free throw line over the next
minute to make it 38-35 midway through the second half.
A basket by Williams cut the deficit to one, then Melchionni
swished a 3 to give Duke the lead for good. Redick hit a 3 to start
a personal run of 12 points in about 3 minutes, which included
another 3-pointer, a putback and a nice layup in traffic.
"We let up a little bit," Tigers coach Oliver Purnell said.
"If you let up, you lose focus for just a second, you play a ball
screen wrong, he'll read it, he'll fade, he'll curl and he's a very
good offensive player."
That put Duke ahead 55-45 with about 5½ minutes left, and
Clemson got no closer than six points the rest of the way.
"J.J. changed speeds, he was more composed," Krzyzewski said.
"He used his shot fake more, and then the shot fake can give you
just not the open shot, but space to penetrate."
Sharrod Ford led the Tigers with 20 points.
"I know we can do better," Ford said. "We know we have to be
better, especially in this league. Once they went on that little
run, we started doing our own little thing. We went away from what
we wanted to do."
Before Redick and Melchionni got going, the Blue Devils
struggled from beyond the arc. They failed to make one in the
opening 20 minutes to put their streak of 525 straight games with
at least one 3 in jeopardy.
Redick finally extended that run with his first of four 3s
barely 3 minutes after halftime.
"You can tell, whenever J.J. shoots the ball, the crowd goes
silent," Melchionni said. "It's like everybody expects him to
Of course, Duke wasn't the only team struggling in the opening
half. The Tigers shot only 31 percent and made 16 turnovers, part
of an ugly display that left the Blue Devils in front 24-19 at
Duke went about 8 minutes without a basket, and Clemson had its
own 6-minute drought. Redick missed his first four shots -- two were
blocked -- and finished with only four points in the first half.
"It was ugly," Redick said. "We want to play pretty, we want
to get up-and-down, we want to score 90 points. But that's what you
can expect from a league game."