(18) Duke 71

(21-7, 8-6 ACC)

Clemson 66

(19-8, 5-8 ACC)

    9:00 PM ET, February 22, 2007

    Littlejohn Coliseum, Clemson, South Carolina

    1 2 T
    #18DUKE 42 2971
    CLEM 21 4566

    Top Performers

    Duke: J. Scheyer 18 Pts, 6 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl

    Clemson: C. Hammonds 14 Pts, 5 Reb, 9 Ast, 2 Stl

    Scheyer helps Duke grab 21st straight over Clemson

    Associated Press

    CLEMSON, S.C. -- DeMarcus Nelson says Duke games are a lot more fun these days, especially when the Blue Devils (No. 17 ESPN/USA Today, No. 18 AP) keep winning.

    Nelson doesn't see the good times stopping any time soon.

    Jon Scheyer scored 18 points and Nelson added 16 to help Duke win its 21st straight over Clemson 71-66 on Thursday night. It was also the Blue Devils (21-7, 8-6 Atlantic Coast Conference) third straight win after a four-game losing streak that had some wondering -- a few gleefully -- how far the team would fall.

    Nelson said the dismal times woke the players up. "I think we're definitely a better team now than we were then," Nelson said. "Everyone's progressing ... It takes something like that to really wake a team up and force a team to get better and rely on each other more."

    And that's meant a sharper brand of basketball, Nelson said.

    "We're just being more aware of every single possession, playing together," he said. "We're just having fun playing with each other. We're driving, we're kicking. Our defense has been great the last few games. We're really having fun doing it."

    Particularly in the first half when Duke put together a 29-8 run over the final 12 minutes that sent it to the locker room up 42-21.

    Clemson (19-8, 5-8) closed that gap 69-64 in the final seconds. But each time the Tigers got close, Duke made the plays that kept them ahead.

    When K.C. Rivers' 3-pointer brought the Tigers within five points with 6.5 seconds left, Scheyer hit two foul shots moments later to regain control.

    "Our kids made big plays to get the momentum back," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "We don't win that game unless our kids step up."

    Clemson continued a slide that has seen them go from the nation's last Division I unbeaten at 17-0 to losing eight of the past 10 games.

    The Tigers have been stuck on 19 wins the last three games. Things don't get easier with a trip to Boston College ahead on Saturday.

    "There's no question that we're in a difficult spot," Clemson coach Oliver Purnell said. "But it can be done. I told these guys, 'We need to win a game. I don't care if it's on Mars, we need to win."

    The downturn began in earnest last month when these met at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Then the Blue Devils' 68-66 victory was helped when officials incorrectly added time at the end -- the extra seconds more than enough for David McClure's winning layup.

    Many in the sold-out crowd at Littlejohn Coliseum hadn't forgotten the clock problems. Several students wore large clocks around their necks -- ala rap personality Flavor Flav.

    Duke appeared to make the clock issue moot in the first half with its big run.

    Nelson had all 11 of his first-half points during Duke's surge. His foul shot started the spurt -- and put the Blue Devils ahead for good, 14-13. By the time, Nelson drove in for a layup with 1:26 left before the half, Duke was up 36-17.

    The Tigers missed 13 straight shots during the run and finished the half with only six field goals.

    As cold as Clemson was in the first half, it came out hot after the break. The Tigers made 10 of their first 14 field goals -- led by Hamilton's 10 points -- and they sliced the lead to 47-42 with 10:14 to go.

    Scheyer's 3-pointer finished an 8-2 run by Duke that rebuilt the lead to 59-47.

    Clemson, though, made one final charge Rivers' 3-pointer.

    That's when Scheyer finished things off with his foul shots. He was a perfect 5-of-5 at the foul line.

    "It was a tough stretch in there when they were making that run," Scheyer said. "But we stayed poised and made the plays."

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 71 66
    FG Made-Attempted 24-46 (.522) 26-55 (.473)
    3P Made-Attempted 7-14 (.500) 5-13 (.385)
    FT Made-Attempted 16-22 (.727) 9-18 (.500)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 20 (0/0) 21 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 24 3

    2006-07 Season

    Jan 25, 2007 @DUKE 68, CLEM 66Recap
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