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Clemson vs. Duke Game Notes

Dec. 31, 2003

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Clemson vs. Duke Series

Duke has beaten Clemson 15 consecutive games, including 11 in arow by double digits. It is the longest winning streak in theseries at any time for the Blue Devils. Clemson’s last win overDuke took place during the 1996-97 season, an 86-82 overtimevictory in Littlejohn Coliseum behind a late steal and dunk by GregBuckner, now with the Philadelphia 76ers. Duke is one of just twoACC teams with a winning record over Clemson in LittlejohnColiseum. Duke holds a 19-16 lead in the previous 35 meetings inthe facility. North Carolina is the only other ACC team with awinning record in Littlejohn. Duke’s 15-game winning streak hasbeen by an average margin of 16.6 points per game. That includes anaverage margin of 21.4 points per game over the last 11 games.However, the Tigers kept the margin under the average last year,losing by 18 at Clemson and by just 10 points in Durham. The 65-55loss at Cameron last year at Durham tied for the closest Clemsonhas come to victory over Duke in the last 15 games. Clemson lost by10 at Clemson in the 2001-02 season. Clemson lost three times toDuke in 1997-98, but the three games were decided by seven totalpoints. That included an 81-80 loss at Cameron Indoor Stadium whenClemson overcame a 24-point deficit in the second half and had twoshots to win the game inside the last five seconds. Clemson hasplayed two triple overtime games in its history and one of thosecontests was against Duke. During the 1981-82 season Duke downedClemson at Durham by a 73-72 score in triple overtime. Clemsonguard Vincent Hamilton played all 55 minutes for the Tigers.Clemson has a 4-52 lifetime record in Durham against the BlueDevils. Clemson lost its first 28 games there before gainingvictory in 1975-76, Bill Foster’s first year as head coach atClemson. Clemson is 20-33 against Duke in games played in the cityof Clemson, and 16-19 in games played in Littlejohn Coliseum.Clemson has lost six straight at home to the Blue Devils. Clemsonhas defeated Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski nine times, including sevengames in Littlejohn Coliseum. Duke was ranked in the top 20 in thenation six of those occasions. That includes consecutive wins atLittlejohn in 1988, 1989 and 1990 when Dale Davis led the Tigers tovictory over three top 10 Duke teams. Davis had 23 points and 17rebounds in the 1988 victory over a #9 Duke team. Clemson had a12-13 record and was coming off a 36-point loss at North Carolinaentering the game. Clemson was the only ACC team to defeatKrzyzewski in 1994-95. A back ailment forced him to the sidelinesfor the rest of the season after Clemson’s 75-70 victory in earlyJanuary of that season. The first meeting between Duke and Clemsontook place in Durham during the 1925-26 season. Duke came away witha 46-12 victory. Clemson’s first win in the series took place in1938-39, by a 38-36 score at Clemson. Banks McFadden, Clemson’sfirst ever basketball All-American, led Clemson to that victory inovertime.

Last Year vs. DukeDuke 89, Clemson 71January 5, 2003 at Clemson, SC Two undefeated teams met in Clemson’s Littlejohn Coliseum on January 5, 2003, the last time the two teams met at Clemson. The game marked the reopening of the renovated Littlejohn Coliseum. Duke came away with a 89-71 victory behind 22 points from freshman J.J. Redick, while Dahntay Jones added 19 points in ending Clemson’s nine-game winning streak to open the season. Edward Scott led the way for Clemson with 28 points and six assists in playing all 40 minutes. It was a season high for Scott and the third highest point total of his career. He made 9-11 free throws and 9-18 field goals. Tomas Nagys was the only other double figure scorer for Clemson with 11, even though he played just 12 minutes. The game featured many fouls as both clubs were called for 27. Both teams were outstanding from the charity stripe as Duke made 24-31 and Clemson 22-29. Clemson won the rebound battle by 10 (38-28), but made just 1-10 three-point attempts compared to 11-23 by the Blue Devils, who shot 52 percent from the field overall. The two teams battled on even terms for most of the first half. Duke opened a 10-5 lead, but Clemson tied the score at 19 with 11:23 left. The Tigers led 23-22 with 9:01 left and it was still 38-36 with 3:23 remaining on a pair of free throws by Tomas Nagys. But, Duke went on a 10-2 run to close the half and led 48-38 at intermission. The Blue Devils held a double digit lead the remainder of the second half. Clemson cut the lead to 65-53 and had the ball with 9:05 left, but could get no closer.

Duke Downs Clemson, 65-55Feb. 9, 2003 at Durham, NC Duke forced Clemson into 26 turnovers and pulled down 20 offensive rebounds in defeating Clemson 65-55 at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Feb. 9. The 10-point margin was the closest Clemson has come to victory in the facility since the 1997-98 season when Clemson lost by just 81-80. Overall, it was the 50th loss for Clemson in Cameron Indoor Stadium against just four victories.

Clemson placed three players in double figures, while Duke had just one. It was also an unusual loss for Clemson in that the Tigers out-shot Duke in terms of field goal percentage, three-point percentage and free throw percentage, yet lost.

Chey Christie led the Tigers for the second straight game with 17 points on 4-8 shooting. He was a perfect 6-6 from the foul line, the best perfect game from the line by a Clemson player in 2002-03. Edward Scott added 11 points and five assists, while Chris Hobbs had his first double-double of the season with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

Duke was led by Dahntay Jones with 15 points. Senior center Casey Sanders had a career high 14 rebounds and added eight points. Freshmen J.J. Redick and Shelden Williams added nine points apiece for Duke, who was ranked ninth in the nation in both polls entering the game.

The contest was a defensive struggle throughout. Clemson held Duke to but 65 points, fewest by the Blue Devils until they scored 65 in their season ending NCAA Tournament loss to Kansas, and just the third time in the last three years that Duke had scored in the 60s. Clemson also held Duke to .339 field goal shooting, the best field goal percentage defense against the Blue Devils in at least three years.

Clemson scored just three points over the first six and half minutes of the game and trailed 13-3 at the 13:43 mark. The Tigers had nine turnovers in the first seven minutes. The lead reached 21-9 at the 7:51 mark on a three-point goal by Lee Melchionni. But Clemson battled back to cut the margin to 25-21 on a free throw by Sharrod Ford with 3:27 left. It was 34-25 in favor of Duke at intermission.

Clemson then cut the margin to one point at 35-34 with 17:04 left on a jumper by Edward Scott. But, another draught ensued. Clemson did not score until the 10:36 mark, a score that ended a 13-0 Duke run. The lead remained in double digits the rest of the game.

Tigers Open ACC Schedule Clemson opens its ACC season on January 3 when second-ranked Duke comes to Littlejohn Coliseum. This will be the third straight year Clemson has opened its league schedule against the Blue Devils and Duke has been ranked in the top three in the nation each time. In 2001-02 Clemson opened the ACC Sunday Night Hoops series against a #1 ranked Duke team and the Blue Devils came away with a 96-80 victory, despite 25 points from Chris Hobbs and 21 points from Chey Christie, who were both freshmen playing in their first ACC game.

Last year a third-ranked Duke team downed the Tigers 89-71 at Clemson. As stated previously, Duke is second in both polls this week. Overall, it is the 12th time Clemson has opened its league schedule with the Blue Devils. Clemson is 2-9 in the previous 11 ACC openers against Duke. Both wins were recorded by Rick Barnes coached Clemson teams in 1994-95 at Duke and 1995-96 at Clemson.

Saturday’s game will be the sixth time in the last 12 years Clemson has opened its league schedule against a team rank in the top three in the nation.

Clemson is used to facing stiff ACC competition at the outset. Incredibly, this will be the 13th straight year Clemson has faced a ranked team in its ACC opener. Clemson is 3-9 in those previous 12 contests. Clemson last lost six straight ACC openers. The last time Clemson won its ACC opener was in 1996-97, a 62-52 win over a 25th ranked Virginia squad. That was the beginning of a 23-win season for the Tigers, a season that ended with a #8 final ranking the USA Today poll, Clemson’s highest final ranking ever.

Clemson has an overall record of 13-37 in its ACC openers over the years. Only two of Clemson’s previous eight coaches who have led the Tigers in the ACC era have won their first ACC game. Cliff Ellis defeated an eighth ranked Georgia Tech team in Atlanta by a 90-81 margin in 1984-85. Vincent Hamilton, no relation to current Clemson guard Vernon Hamilton, led the Tigers with 27 points on 13-16 shooting. Rick Barnes won his first ACC game at Duke in 1994-95 by a 75-70 score. Duke was ranked ninth in the nation entering that game.

It won’t get any easier for Clemson in its second ACC game this year as the Tigers will travel to a top five Wake Forest team on January 10. Clemson has not won at Wake Forest since the 1989-90 season.

Clemson Improved on Defense One of the areas Oliver Purnell wanted to see improvement over the course of the season and as compared to last year was on the defensive end of the court. That has been the case this year as Clemson has allowed the opposition to shoot just .401 from the field for the season, improved over last year’s .433 opponent field goal percentage.

Clemson is also improved in three-point percentage defense, allowing the opposition to make .323 of its long distance shots compared to .344 last year. Clemson now has a .473 to .401 edge in overall field goal percentage and a .339 to .323 edge in three-point shooting.

On a game by game basis, Clemson has not allowed the opposition to reach 48 percent on overall field goal percentage this year and only two teams have bettered 45 percent A top 15 and undefeated Cincinnati team has had the top field goal percentage against Clemson this year with a .478 figure. Conversely, Clemson has had five games in which it has shot at least 50 percent and Clemson is 5-0 in those games.

Clemson’s defense was outstanding against Boston College. The Eagles entered the game shooting 49 percent from the field for the season, including 37 percent on three-point attempts. But the Eagles shot just .333 from the field and .214 on three-point shots against the Tigers in Clemson’s 72-62 victory on December 30.

Tigers Down Boston College Vernon Hamilton led five Clemson players in double figures with a near triple-double 13 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists as the Tigers defeated future ACC foe Boston College 72-62 at Littlejohn Coliseum on December 30. It improved Clemson’s record over the Eagles to 3-0 all-time.

Hamilton led the Tigers in rebounding and assists and tied for the team lead in scoring in his finest all-around performance of his young career. He had just one turnover in his 36 minutes to go with the nine assists and had four steals, all of which led directly to Clemson baskets. He was also a big reason Boston College’s starting backcourt scored just one point in the contest.

Chris Hobbs added 11 points in 28 minutes. He suffered a sprained ankle in the final eight minutes of the game and did not return. Olu Babalola added 10 points in the balanced attack.

Boston College was not balanced as its star forward Craig Smith scored 28 points, 45 percent of the team’s total and added 12 rebounds. The Eagles were limited to 33 percent field goal shooting overall and 21.4 percent from three-point range. Boston College did win the rebound battle 38-33, thanks to 24 offensive rebounds.

Clemson had its best all-around shooting performance of the year, hitting 53.1 percent from the field, 58.3 percent on three-point shots and 81 percent from the foul line.

Clemson played its top half of the year in the first half against the Eagles. Clemson jumped out to a 10-0 lead as the Tigers made four of their first five shots. BC cut the lead to six points at 19-13, but that was as close as they got in the first half. Clemson went on a 9-0 run to move the count to 28-13 with 6:53 left on a steal and score by Hamilton. The Tigers led 34-20 at intermission thanks to 15-26 shooting from the field. BC shot just 8-32 in the first half.

Clemson moved the lead to 44-20 with a 10-0 run to open the second half, as Clemson kept the defensive intensity going. It was still an 18-point margin with 6:13 left when Boston College mounted a comeback behind Smith. The Eagles got the margin under 10 with a couple of free throws by Steve Hailey with 2:15 left, then got it to six on a three-pointer by Smith with 1:11 remaining. But Clemson made its free throws down the stretch. Clemson was 10-12 from the line inside the last five minutes of the game and held the double digit lead at the final horn.

Hamilton nearly Records Triple Double Clemson point guard Vernon Hamilton nearly became the second point guard in ACC history to record a triple double when he had 13 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists against Boston College on December 30. The freshman from Richmond had his ninth assist with 4:26 left in the game. However, the nature of the final four minutes of the game did not give Hamilton many opportunities to get that one remaining assist. Boston College trailed and fouled many of Clemson’s possessions down the stretch.

The only ACC point guard in history heading into this season to record a triple double is Kenny Anderson, who had 32 points, 12 rebounds and 18 assists in a Georgia Tech victory over Pittsburgh in 1989.

Clemson has had four triple doubles in history, two each by Tree Rollins and Sharone Wright. Wright was the last to do it, recording the triple double against Maryland in the 1992-93 season in a game played at Clemson. Rollins had the first one against Presbyterian in 1974-75, then added one against Duke in 1976-77. He had 16 points, 15 rebounds and 10 blocks against a freshman center named Mike Gminski. Wright had his against UNC Greensboro and Maryland.

Hamilton’s performance against Boston College was the closest a Clemson guard has come to a triple double. Ironically, the previous closest was recorded by another Clemson guard named Hamilton. In 1984-85 Vincent Hamilton (no relation), had 21 points, 18 rebounds and eight assists in a victory over South Alabama at Littlejohn Coliseum. Vincent Hamilton was inducted into the Clemson Hall of Fame this past fall.

Tigers Record 50-50-80 Game Clemson had its best offensive game of the season in the victory over Boston College. The Tigers shot 53.1 percent from the field, 58.3 percent from three-point land and 81.3 percent from the foul line. That was the first time Clemson has shot 50 percent from the field and three-point land and at least 80 percent from the foul line since the 2000-01 season. Ironically, the last time Clemson reached those three high levels in the same game, the Tigers lost. That year Clemson shot 51.7 percent from the field, 50 percent from behind the arc and 81 percent from the line in a 111-108 loss to Georgia Tech.

ACC’s top Two Shot Blockers on Display The ACC’s top two shot blockers will be on display when Clemson faces Duke on January 3. Sheldon Williams, Duke’s 6-9 sophomore leads the league with 40 blocks in 10 games, 4.0 per game. Clemson’s Sharrod Ford is second with 33 blocks in 11 games, a 3.0 average. Both players are coming off fine defensive performances. Williams had six blocks in a win over Davidson on December 29, while Ford had five in a victory over Boston College on December 30.

Ford has made quite an improvement in the blocked shot area this year, as he has already exceeded his total of last year when he had 19 for the season. He had 26 as a freshman and now has 78 for his career, most among active Tigers. Williams had 52 last season when he started 23 games, so he is also ahead of his pace of a year ago. Both are leaders of their respective teams in this area. Clemson has 62 as a team, while Duke has 79. Both are in the top four in the ACC as a team category.

Clemson has a strong tradition in terms of blocking shots. Tree Rollins is the ACC’s all-time leader in that category on a per game basis with a 4.09 average recorded between 1973-77. Sharone Wright, who played for the Tigers between 1992-94 is fifth in that area on a per game basis, while Elden Campbell, still in the NBA with the Detroit Pistons, is eighth at 2.72 per game. It is interesting to note that Mike Gminski, who will be at Clemson Saturday to broadcast the game for Fox, is ranked seventh on that list at 2.83 per game. Gminski is fifth in total blocks with 345.

Clemson Has 11 Wins over Ranked Duke Teams Clemson has defeated a top 20 Duke team 11 times in its history. Clemson has beaten a ranked Duke team more often than any other school. Clemson has 10 ranked wins over Maryland and North Carolina, and nine over NC State.

Clemson has upset a top 20 Duke team six times in the last 16 years, with the last victory coming in 1996-97 at Clemson, an 86-82 overtime win over a 10th-ranked Duke team. That was the third year in a row that Clemson defeated a top 20 Duke team. Clemson also defeated a top 10 Duke team three years in a row between 1988-90. Dale Davis and Elden Campbell were common denominators on those teams. The 1990 victory clinched the ACC regular season championship for the Tigers.