Dec 2, 2001
DURHAM, N.C. – Duke is looking for a haymaker, but so far the top-ranked Blue Devils have only been able to land jabs.
The undefeated Blue Devils got 23 points from Carlos Boozer, 19 from Jason Williams and 15 from Mike Dunleavy in a 96-80 victory over Clemson, which turned the ball over 22 times.
However, Duke (6-0) was outrebounded 42-29 and allowed the Tigers to close the gap in the final minutes of their Atlantic Coast Conference opener, much to the dismay of coach Mike Krzyzewski.
“If you have high standards you want to play real well. I’m not going to be happy if we’re not playing to that level and I don’t think I should be,” Krzyzewski said.
“We’re going to get people who feel like it’s their chance – even more so than last year,” he added. “We’ve got to learn how to handle that. We still haven’t completely handled it yet.”
Chris Duhon agreed that something is missing with the defending national champions.
“We’re just not bringing energy and excitement to the game,” said Duhon, who had 13 points, four assists and three steals. “Every game we have to come out knowing teams want to beat us. We don’t want to learn by losing.”
Duke improved to 72-9 in its last 81 ACC games and beat Clemson for the 12th straight time – the last eight coming by double digits.
Chris Hobbs had a season-high 25 points to lead the Tigers (5-2), who have lost 24 of their last 25 ACC road games.
“Always a fun experience for a young team and I thought that we seemed to have a lot of fun, looking into the eyes of our players,” Clemson coach Larry Shyatt said of playing Duke. “I thought they stood tall, and for a long period of time I thought we dominated the game in terms of aggression and glass.
“But in the end it was just too much talent for too long.”
Hobbs couldn’t do it alone against a team of stars as Duke extended the nation’s longest winning streak to 16 games, the first 10 coming in last year’s national title run.
The Tigers, with the biggest team in the ACC, played a good first half and trailed by just six at the break as their size gave the Blue Devils some trouble.
“The one thing they did tonight that they’ve done against everybody was rebound,” Krzyzewski said of the bulky Tigers.
But Clemson’s offense hit the skids in the early part of the second half as Duke cranked up the defensive heat and its running game.
Duke got layups from Dunleavy, Boozer, Dahntay Jones and Williams during a run to open the second half that put the game away with 13 minutes left.
The Blue Devils, struggling this season from the outside, didn’t take their first 3-pointer of the half until Dunleavy made one with 12:52 left, but by then it was 65-48 as Clemson missed 11 of its first 12 shots and turned it over six times.
“For a 10-minute stretch there we played really good defense and that gave us a working margin,” Krzyzewski said.
Clemson trailed by as many as 14 points in the first half after coughing the ball up eight times in a four-minute span.
But the Tigers went on a 17-6 run to close within three as Edward Scott and Tony Stockman hit consecutive 3-pointers at the end of the spurt as the Blue Devils continued to struggle from the outside.
Duke came in shooting 29.5 percent from beyond the arc in five wins, and were just 4-of-15 in the opening 20 minutes as the Tigers stayed within six at the break.
Williams was the worst from 3-point range, missing all his attempts in the first half, as Duke finished 8-for-23 from beyond the arc.
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