The story of tonight's game was the first half, which showcased a
dominant effort by the Duke team. A few notes from pre-game though. Many
of the Clemson players, including Will Solomon, had lots of interaction with
the crowd before the opening tip, which is never a good sign for the
opposition. There was also an amusing moment during introductions, when
Trajan Langdon's name was flashed on the scoreboard. Most of the
upperclassmen in the audience responded with the "Hail Trajan" motion, which
was quite funny. There also was a great section of students right at half
court, with signs saying, "Beware of the Dog", "Nate's Dogg Pound" and
"Clemson chokes on a bone". Nate really appreciated them, and they got
Nate fired up a few times during the game.
As for the actual game, it was all Duke from the tip. Our shots,
especially from long range, were falling easily, and our defense was solid.
The best sequence of the first few minutes included a great,
come-from-behind block by Dunleavy, which had the crowd roaring. Carlos
had a very quiet first half, and so K used the opportunity to work in some
playing time for Nick, Casey, and Matt. Nick played the most well rounded
game, and Matt hustled as usual. As soon as Casey was put in the game, a
Clemson player shoved him hard in the back, and the referee never saw it. A
few minutes later, the same player pushed him again, and this time Casey
retaliated. Unfortunately, Casey was the one whistled for the foul.
This was just the beginning of the dirty play by Clemson. The
worst play, by far, was when Nagys fell down at Jason's feet and really
tried to twist his legs around. Jason was not pleased at all, and Nagys was
given an intentional foul. He then proceeded to flip off the crowd, which
evoked the "A** H***" cheer. Thankfully, Jason was not injured on the play.
A few minutes later, Adam Allenspach went down, apparently slipping on a wet
spot at the top of the key. He looked to have wrenched his back a bit, and
he really landed hard on the ground. Once he got up, the Crazies gave him
a nice round of applause, which was nice to see, given his history (it was a
hip pointer according to Shyatt - DBR).
The last eleven minutes of the first half was a real defensive show
for Duke. We forced turnover after turnover, one of which was turned into a
great dunk by Nate James. He was all alone, and took off about five feet
from the basket, waving the ball in his upturned hand before finishing off
with a one-handed slam. Not only did we pressure Clemson into losing the
ball, we also held them to six points in the last eleven minutes of the
half - quite impressive. Chris Carrawell was the leader in that department,
as he totally shut out Will Solomon for the entire half. The crowd never
let Will forget it, either, with constant taunts of "Solomon, Solomon" a la
The game was really over at the half, especially with Dunleavy
hitting a curving half court three pointer as time expired. Andre Buckner
had already been brought into the game, and with a 42-point deficit, Clemson
was done. There were a few notable plays in the second half, most involving
Jason Williams. He had some excellent drives, including one where he spun
around his man and finished with an underhand scooping lay-up. He also got
quite entangled with Clemson's #10, Scott I believe. On one trip down the
floor, they were really going at, and it looked as if Jason nearly swung at
him once, which was not the greatest idea. It ended with Scott shoving
Jason to the floor and getting called for the foul, but I was glad to see
that Jason and Scott were taken out of the game soon after.
Shane also had a great play on the baseline, where he used a
Trajan-esque jab step and head fake to freeze his man, and then calmly
stroked the three pointer. The crowd also broke out some nice cheers, like
"Steal our laptops" and "One half - no points" when Will Solomon was at the
line, and "Where's the white flag" towards the end of the game. The
Crazies ended with chants of "Go To Hell Carolina", and "Our House" - all in
all a good day for the Blue Devils.