The Duke Basketball team fell to the Clemson Tigers on Tuesday night in a complete no-show from the Blue Devils.
The fans at Clemson University had something to cheer about on Tuesday and it probably wasn’t what most fans thought they would be cheering about.
After a loss in the College Football Playoff National Championship on Monday night to LSU, it was a rainy and dreary day in Clemson, South Carolina until the ball was tipped in the Littlejohn Coliseum.
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Clemson and No. 3 Duke were in a back-and-forth affair in the first half, but the Tigers created some separation towards the end of the period, leading by as many as nine points, but a missed breakaway layup from Jordan Goldwire could have cut the Clemson lead to five points at the break, but instead, the Tigers went to the locker room up seven.
Mike Krzyzewski deployed a full-court press when Duke fell behind by nine in the second half and Duke responded, taking a three point lead with 9:17 left to play.
The Blue Devils and Tigers would trade baskets as Duke still led by three with 6:36 left in the second half, but Clemson would then go on a 6-0 run to regain its lead and the Blue Devils had no answer.
Down the stretch, Clemson led by as many as eight points before winning by seven, 79-72.
Duke’s defense was non-existent, allowing a team that was averaging 68.7 points per game to score 79 on Tuesday night and a 42.4 percent shooting team from the field and 32.3 percent from 3-point range to shoot 57.0 and 42.0 percent, respectively.
The Blue Devils were down to an eight-man rotation after the news broke on Tuesday afternoon that Joey Baker would not be available due to an ankle sprain and Wendell Moore already being sidelined with a broken hand.
Vernon Carey Jr. had no answer for Aamir Simms who led the way for the Tigers with 25 points and nine rebounds on 10-of-15 shooting. The Blue Devils also could not contain Tevin Mack who finished with 22 points and nine rebounds on 10-of-14 shooting.
John Newman III also went for 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting.
Carey Jr. led the way for Duke with 20 points but the freshman could not make a free throw, going just 4-of-9 from the charity stripe, and as a team Duke was just 10-of-20 from the free throw line.
Tre Jones finished his night with 17 points, five rebounds, and four assists but the sophomore was just 6-of-15 from the field.
Cassius Stanley was the only other Blue Devil to reach double-figures with 14 points and the freshman was having a very good game until he picked up his fourth foul very early in the second half and was forced to the bench.
Senior captain Jack White was the lone other Blue Devil to have a productive night with nine points and five rebounds on 3-of-4 shooting in his 27 minutes.
Goldwire’s miscues were already chronicled and Javin DeLaurier played 16 minutes while not attempting a shot, recording one rebound and one steal, and got dunked on in addition to picking up two fouls.
Duke seems always due for a head-scratching January or February loss and it so happened to come on January 14 on the road at the hands of an 8-7, now 9-7, Clemson team who is feeling very good about itself.
The Blue Devils have no time to sulk as the No. 11 Louisville Cardinals come into Cameron Indoor Stadium on Saturday evening, but the talk of Durham will be the health of Joey Baker as Duke was severely hampered by its lack of depth on Tuesday night.
Duke drops to 15-2 on the season and 5-1 in ACC play with still a lot of basketball to be played.