February 20, 1999
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – An angry Duke proved just as lethal Saturday.
The No. 1 Blue Devils, infuriated when senior team captain Trajan Langdon was leveled and bloodied by a screen, responded with a 26-0 run to move within one win of unprecedented Atlantic Coast Conference perfection by routing Clemson 92-65.
The Blue Devils (27-1, 15-0 ACC) used the run at the end of the first half to put away the Tigers (15-12, 4-10), getting 22 points from Elton Brand for their 22nd straight victory on Senior Day at Duke.
“I wanted to foul their whole team out since they like to foul so much,” Duke’s Chris Carrawell said. “Anytime you see that happen to one of the best players in the country – on his day – it was bad.”
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski was still emotional after the game.
“His lip just got shattered,” Krzyzewski said of Langdon, who received seven stitches at halftime. “That’s my main guy so I’m going to be emotional about it. As soon as I stop being emotional then someone else should sit here. If a kid get hurts from my team I’m going to back him up.”
Duke, which tied the ACC record for consecutive home wins at 36, now needs a victory at No. 14 North Carolina next Saturday to become the first team to go 16-0 in the ACC in a season. The ACC season expanded to 16 games when Florida State entered the league in 1992.
“I remember being asked the (16-0) question when we were 8-0,” said Brand, who fell one rebound short of his sixth straight double-double. “It seemed like that was a little far off. Now, it’s more of a reality.”
The Blue Devils matched their single-season high of 15 ACC wins set last year by dismantling a hot Clemson team that had won its last two by 33 and 23 points.
Teams have tried different ways this season to slow down the nation’s top scoring team. Clemson used the physical approach this time around and it backfired.
The Tigers were matching Duke bucket-for-bucket and were tied 30-30 when Langdon ran into a Clemson screen set by Adam Allenspach.
The Duke captain went down in a heap holding his nose and lip as blood flowed freely. The play angered Duke’s players and coach Mike Krzyzewski, who yelled and pointed at the Clemson bench.
Clemson went up 32-30 21 seconds later, then kept going as Krzyzewski ripped off his sport coat and became more active on the sideline. The Blue Devils made 10 of 12 free throws – a trouble area for the team recently – to open the 26-0 run.
Two minutes into the surge, Langdon returned, only to be fouled in the cut area by Andrius Jurkunas.
“I think he tried to hit (the lip) again, he tried to run over me,” said Langdon. “He was trying to get me.”
“I said, What are you doing?”‘ Carrawell said he told Jurkunas. “I said some other things I can’t say. I told him it better not happen again or it’s going to be payback, but we reacted in a good way, we reacted on the court.”
Duke answered Clemson’s physical play by pouring it on.
Before the Tigers knew what hit them, Duke led 56-32 seconds before halftime and another rout was on.
Clemson turned the ball over 18 times in the opening 20 minutes and finished with a season-high 26 in falling to 4-48 all-time at Duke. Will Solomon led the Tigers with 17 points.
“They started to scamble us and we didn’t take care of the ball,” Clemson coach Larry Shyatt said of the Duke run. “On the other side of the fence they knocked in three or four shots in transition and we fouled excessively.”
The Duke lead reached 30 four minutes into the second half on a follow bucket by Battier, who along with Langdon added 17 points each for the Blue Devils, now 40-3 in their last 43 regular-season ACC games.
By DAVID DROSCHAK AP Sports Writer
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