Clemson still can't win at Duke

Clemson still can't win at Duke

Basketball

Clemson still can't win at Duke

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Tigers drop their 19th straight game at Cameron Indoor Stadium

Last year, Clemson did something no one thought they would ever see … it won in Chapel Hill, N.C. The Tigers were 0-59 before ending the Tar Heels’ NCAA record for the longest home winning streak by one team over another.

However, Clemson is still the victim of another longtime losing streak in the ACC. Thanks to Saturday’s 79-53 loss to Duke, the Tigers have lost 19 straight games to the Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, N.C.

Clemson (10-5, 4-5 ACC) has not won at Duke since January of 1995 and is just 4-64 all-time in Durham. With Duke struggling this year and barely sitting above .500, there was thought that this could be the year the Tigers would snap the long losing streak at Cameron.

Obviously, that was not the case.

Duke (7-5, 5-3 ACC) never trailed in the game and led by a many as 35 points, 69-34, at one point in the second half. The Blue Devils scored 25 points off Clemson turnovers and had a 15-2 edge in fastbreak points.

After getting a quality win over Louisville this past Wednesday night to snap a three-game slide, Clemson continued to shoot the basketball poorly, while its defense once again regressed for the fourth time in five games.

“Disappointing day today. We took a step back after a step forward with the great win against Louisville,” Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said. “Our number one objective was to keep Duke out of transition, and we didn’t do any of that. They had 25 points off of turnovers and that put us in a hole. Our lack of shooting is a problem. We need to get into the gym and make shots. It takes a toll on our defense.”

The Blue Devils connected on 28-of-61 shots (46 percent) and were 10-of-31 from behind the three-point line. The Tigers on the other hand could not make anything consistently as things got away from them midway through the first half.

Clemson finished the afternoon 20-of-57 from the field and just 5-of-21 from behind the arc.

“We have talked about it, wanting to take better shots. We have probably had a lot better shots than we are making,” Brownell said. “John Newman and others got the ball in the paint and didn’t make shots. We had some open threes and couldn’t connect and all of that leads to transition opportunities.

“It all rolls together a little bit. It’s hard to sustain your defense when you aren’t scoring and getting it done on offense. We aren’t getting offense off of our defense either like we were earlier in the season.”

The Tigers were led by Aamir Simms’ game-high 19 points, six rebounds and four assists. He was the only Tiger to score in double digits and was 7-of-13 from the field.

“Aamir had a good offensive game but our seniors were not in position to make plays on defense,” Brownell said. “They were great against Louisville and today they weren’t and they have to take ownership. This is their team, and they have to take some responsibility.”

Chase Hunter came off the bench to score nine points on 4-of-8 shooting.

“It’s not like we have some guy we aren’t playing who can score for us. Everybody is getting opportunities, but we have to get them in better position to make baskets and get confidence,” Brownell said. “Sometimes we come in the huddle and it’s hard to tell them anything because we are just missing good shots. And then our defense wasn’t holding up like it did against Louisville.”

Duke had five players score in double digits, including 13 points from Matthew Hurt. The sophomore also had four rebounds and three assists.

The Blue Devils got 12 points from Jeremy Roach, while Wendell Moore, D.J. Steward and Mark Williams all added 11 points. Jalen Johnson dropped in nine points, had eight rebounds and five assists for a solid overall stat line.

Duke led by as many as 19 points in the first half, including a 41-22 lead at halftime.

Clemson did not help its case by opening the game with just two field goals in the first 11 minutes. The Tigers were just 8-for-27 (29.6 percent) from the field in the first 20 minutes, including 3-of-12 (25 percent) from three-point range.

The Blue Devils on the other hand shot 45.2 percent overall (14-of-31) and were 5-for-15 from behind the arc. Duke also had a 14-2 edge off eight Clemson turnovers and a 10-0 advantage in fastbreak points.

“This has been really hard we don’t have any excuses, but having the quick turnaround is a hard one,” Brownell said. “This has been an incredibly difficult two and a half weeks and that is compounded by the way we are playing because it doesn’t feel good. It’s hard when you’re playing every couple of days with not a lot of time to prepare between games.

“It’s hard to get in the gym and work on things you need to get better at. If we shoot better and score the ball it will limit transition and really help us.”

Clemon returns home Tuesday to host North Carolina at 7 p.m. The game will be televised on the ACCN.

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