Durham, N.C. - The walk up to Cameron was a cold one tonight as the temperature is in the twenties, but Dukes defense made the elements seem warm compared the the cold defensive breeze that shut the Tigers offense to a crawl. The Blue Devils cruised to a 74-53 win in their ACC opener using the aforementioned lock down defense which held Clemson to 32.7% from the field for the game.
Duke held the visitors to just 12 first half points and 16.7% from the field, but Clemson did manage to score the second half's first 12 points and it looked as if Duke's first half effort would evaporate, but the Devils regrouped after a Krzyzewski timeout and rode the big three to a win.
Whats that? Who is the big three? Well, if you don't know you haven't followed the Blue Devils. The big 3 would be Jon Scheyer, Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith. The trio combined for 60 of the Blue Devils 74 points and their consistency has been uncanny to this point.
The backcourt of Smith and Scheyer scored 22 points apiece and combined for 9 of the Blue Devils 12 assists. Singler added 16 and earned the praise of Krzyzewski after the game where he said he looked stronger or better than at any time this season.
He was probably referring to Singlers toughness and leadership or maybe it was that Singler jaw jacked a bit with Clemson star Trevor Booker. Duke held Booker to just 10 points his second lowest total of the season.
Krzyzewski showed emotion tonight while trying to keep the Cameron Crazies going and they did a pretty good job with a lot of the students missing. He leaped when Scheyer picked up a Booker turnover, turned and made a three point shot which gave Duke a commanding 39-25 lead after a Tiger run to crawl back into the game.
Duke outscored Clemson in the paint and out-rebounded their opponent and scored 19 points of Tiger turnovers. The final 21 point margin was the largest lead of the game for Duke.
With the win, Duke goes to 12-1 on the season and 1-0 in the conference while Clemson drops to 12-3 and 0-1. Duke will next face Iowa State in Chicago on Wednesday.
Be sure to check out the BDN Locker Room Report which is coming later.
Notes - Duke honored the great Vic Bubas and his 1960 team at half time. Krzyzewski sang the praises of Bubas during the post game press conference.