Duke hasn’t always handled success well this season.
But they’ve certainly handled lack of success well. Duke followed its first three losses with wins by margins of 41, 12 and 20 points.
So we all expected Duke to follow Monday’s gut-wrenching loss to Virginia with some fire and brimstone at Clemson.
Expectations fulfilled. Duke jumped all over Clemson early, survived a serious injury scare and some Clemson mini-runs and pulled away for an 82-64 win at Littlejohn Arena.
The win was Duke’s 20th of the season, Mike Krzyzewski’s 36th 20-win season at Duke and moves Duke to 10-3 in the ACC, one more win than Duke notched in regular-season ACC competition all of last season.
Trevor Keels sparked Duke with some tremendous work inside. Duke led 9-6 when Keels rebounded a Wendell Moore, Jr. miss. Keels missed, grabbed another offensive rebound, scored and drew the foul. Keels missed the freebie but grabbed another offensive rebound. A few seconds later Moore hit a 3-pointer and Duke led 14-6 after a five-point possession.
That was the kind of sequence that ordinarily might make a TV highlights show. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the play that people will remember. With just over three minutes left in the first half and Duke up 27-20, Moore stole the ball from David Collins and went in for what should have been an uncontested dunk. But for some reason Collins decided to body block Moore around the time an off-balance Moore was at the apex of his dunk. If you haven’t seen the play, Collins made no attempt at the ball.
Moore went down hard and breaths were held and tempers were frayed. Big time. It was an ugly play.
Moore got up, shook it off and went about his business. Collins was ejected and tried to make up with Duke before hitting the locker room.
Duke led by as much as 13 at 27-14 in the first half, saw the lead cut to nine but went into the locker room up 38-27 when Paolo Banchero beat the clock on a layup.
Clemson was already playing with starting forward Hunter Tyson, out with a broken clavicle and Collins is a starter. But down two key bodies Clemson came out strong for the second half, cutting the Duke lead to 43-37 and then 45-40.
That was as close as the home team got. Banchero made a layup and then Keels just took over.
Keels exploded on the national scene with a dominant performance against Kentucky in the season opener. He’s been good since then and has had to fight through a leg injury.
But Keels hasn’t played at that Kentucky level again until Thursday at Clemson. His layup made it 49-40. Another made it 55-44. Another made it 57-46. A 3-pointer made it 60-46, two foul shots made it 67-50, a layup made it 69-50, another 3-pointer made it 72-52.
Sixteen points in about 10 minutes and the Tigers were done.
“When you get a lead like that, just keep fighting and keep pushing,”Keels said. “Don’t let the team get back and get their crowd into it. It was loud in there, so in games like that, you don’t want their crowd to get into it. You want to keep that lead and finish the game.”
Keels scored all but two of his game-high 25 points in the second half, making all eight of his field-goal attempts.
He also had 11 rebounds.
“I feel like I’m getting back to myself,” Keels said. “Missing three games is tough, especially when you can’t be out there with your brothers and fight. But inside the locker room, Wendell talked to me before the game and was just like,‘Play like yourself.’ It really helped me.”
There were other important individual contributions. Banchero had 15 points and 10 rebounds. Mark Williams made all eight of his field-goal attempts and finished with 16 points, 6 rebounds and 2 blocks. A.J. Griffin hit four of five from beyond the arc for 12 points, while Moore had eight assists.
But several team stats also stand out. Duke out-rebounded Clemson 42-33, committed only seven turnovers and allowed Clemson to hit only five of 18 3-pointers.
So, back to handling success. Another road game, Saturday at Boston College, a game Duke should win.
Should. If they’ve learned what they needed to learn from the Virginia loss.
Krzyzewski said Duke’s successful response was no accident.
“The very first thing you have to do is take accountability for why they [Virginia] played better – not just the end of the game. We had long meetings with our guys, and then they had meetings. A big thing was for them to hold each other accountable more. With a young team, they have really good attitudes and they all want to play well, but you can get caught up with you playing well. Not trying to score a lot of points, but you don’t see globally- you see locally. That’s part of the maturity of a player and a team, is to see globally.”
No rest for the weary, according to Krzyzewski.
“This is a heck of an eight-day stretch with Carolina, Virginia, here. We’re going to get on a plane tonight and we’ll get to Boston at about three in the morning and play there 26 hours later. We knew this would be a tough stretch, but getting this win was big.”
Clemson guard David Collins tossed after ‘dangerous’ foul on Duke’s Wendell Moore Jr.
Duke Blue Devils vs. Clemson Tigers - February 10, 2022
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- Clemson Falls to No. 7/6 Duke 82-64
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- ‘One of the most dangerous plays I’ve ever seen:’ Duke’s Coach K reacts to flagrant foul during win vs. Clemson
- Keels double-double leads No. 7 Duke to 84-62 win at Clemson
- Video: Clemson’s David Collins ejected for flagrant 2 foul on Wendell Moore
- Clemson fell to Duke 82-64 in ACC play. Here’s the good, bad and ugly from the contest
- HEAD OVER KEELS: Trevor Keels dominates in second half to lift Duke men’s basketball over Clemson
- Five observations from Duke men’s basketball’s first half against Clemson
- Trevor Keels leads the way as Duke basketball beats Clemson for ACC road win, 82-64
- Flagrant foul leads to half-court apology during Duke-Clemson game
- Video: Clemson Player Ejected After Dirty Foul On Duke’s Wendell Moore
- Clemson’s David Collins ejected for dangerous foul on Duke’s Wendell Moore Jr.
- Dude On Clemson Straight Up Forgets He’s Playing Basketball, Delivers One Of The Dirtiest Fouls You’ll See
- Duke blows out Clemson in Coach K’s last trip to Littlejohn
- BOX SCORE (PDF)
- POSTGAME NOTES (PDF)
- COACH K QUOTES (PDF)
- DUKE PLAYER QUOTES (PDF)
- PHOTO GALLERY
Player Of The Game vs. Clemson
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