McClure's layup at buzzer lifts Duke

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) -- David McClure has earned his minutes by grabbing rebounds, getting steals and bringing energy off the bench while his Duke teammates grab most of the headlines.

On Thursday night, McClure made the most of his chance to take the big shot.

The sophomore hit a layup as time expired to lead the No. 10 Blue Devils to a 68-66 victory over Clemson (No. 17 EPSN/USA Today, No. 19 AP), extending Duke's mastery of the Tigers while keeping it moving forward in the Atlantic Coast Conference standings.

In a game with the wildest of finishes -- including a blown five-point lead in the final 13 seconds and a dose of clock controversy before the final play -- McClure's stunning basket helped the Blue Devils (17-3, 4-2 ACC) win their fourth straight. Duke has also won 20 straight meetings in the series -- a span of 10 years -- and 24 of 26 meetings in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

This one came thanks to an unflashy 6-foot-6 forward who finished with a modest stat line off the bench.

As Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski put it, "He makes simple, terrific plays."

"You never know what's going to happen," McClure said. "If you're in every play, you're going to be ready to make a play."

With the score tied at 66 with 4.4 seconds left, Josh McRoberts inbounded the ball to freshman Jon Scheyer, who pushed the ball near midcourt and sent a pass ahead to McClure.

McClure, who had a step on Vernon Hamilton, caught the pass and laid it up over the outstretched arms of K.C. Rivers as the horn sounded.

"It was a great finish and a great way to win," said Scheyer, who had 12 points. "That's about as crazy as it gets."

Duke's players immediately spilled onto the floor in celebration and mobbed McClure.

"I've been on teams where we've hit shots like that, but I've never been the one to hit it," McClure said. "You can't even explain how it feels. I just started jumping around and about a second later I got hit by the rest of the team and we all went down. It's one of the best feelings you can experience in a lifetime."

Not so for the Tigers (18-3, 4-3), who walked back toward their bench in stunned silence after making a remarkable comeback only seconds earlier.

Duke looked on its way to the win when freshman Gerald Henderson hit two free throws to make it 66-61 with 12.7 seconds left. But Hamilton scored a layup to cut the deficit to three with five seconds left.

Then Duke made its biggest mistake of the night when McRoberts' inbounds pass for Greg Paulus went right to Hamilton just outside the 3-point arc. Hamilton's buried the shot to tie it with 1.8 seconds left, which seemed to have the game headed for overtime.

But officials stopped play to review the time left and restored the clock to 4.4 seconds. Video replays showed that the clock, which stopped on Hamilton's layup, did not restart on Hamilton's steal until the ball was almost in the basket -- a pause of more than a second that led to confusion.

"It all happened so fast," said Hamilton, who led Clemson with 21 points. "I really thought when I hit the 3 it was time to go to overtime."

Clemson coach Oliver Purnell said he had no arguments with the call, even though only 0.6 seconds expired on Hamilton's steal-and-3-pointer in which the senior hesitated before the shot.

"I don't have any proof or feeling that it was handled poorly," Purnell said. "As soon as they told me, we were trying to set our defense because they had some time left."

Clemson certainly had plenty of chances in the final minutes to keep it from coming down to the final play. The Tigers tied the score at 60 when James Mays stole the ball in the Tigers' full-court pressure and made a layup with 3:30 left.

Scheyer hit a pair of free throws on the next possession to put Duke back ahead at 62-60. Then, after Mays made a free throw to cut the deficit to one, Clemson's Cliff Hammonds missed shots for the lead on consecutive possessions while Rivers missed an open 3-pointer with about a minute left.

Scheyer rebounded Rivers' miss and hit two free throws to make it 64-61 with 47.1 seconds left and Henderson's free throws pushed the margin to five.

McRoberts led Duke with 17 points while McClure finished with eight points and six rebounds in 34 minutes. The Blue Devils shot just 41 percent but kept control of the game with a 40-24 rebounding advantage -- including a 17-6 edge on the offensive boards that led to a 19-4 edge in second-chance points.