Recap: Duke vs. Clemson
Greensboro, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - Rodney Hood hit two free throws with 3.8 seconds left, enabling seventh-ranked Duke to survive a stiff challenge from Clemson and come away with a 63-62 decision in an ACC Tournament quarterfinal.
The Blue Devils (25-7) moved on to the tournament semis for the 15th time in the last 17 editions, though it was anything but a cakewalk. Clemson overcame a 13-point deficit with under 12 minutes left to grab a 63-62 lead on Rod Hall's basket with 7.4 remaining.
Hood was fouled by K.J. McDaniels while driving the lane on the ensuing possession, however, and capped a 17-point night by sinking both bonus attempts to send Duke back in front.
'It's really one of the best plays for us that a player can make, to just take it down the court like that," said Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski of Hood's decision. "And then get a one-and-one, not two shots, and to hit those two free throws is just huge."
The Blue Devils, who fell 72-59 to the Tigers in the teams' lone regular- season meeting this year, then held on when Hall was stripped off the ball by Tyler Thornton while penetrating to attempt the potential game- winner.
Jabari Parker added 18 points and Rasheed Sulaimon scored 14 to help send the third-seeded Blue Devils into Saturday's matchup with No. 7 seed North Carolina State, which pulled off a 66-63 upset of 11th-ranked Syracuse earlier in the evening.
Hall finished with 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting, while McDaniels had 12 points for Clemson (20-12).
"Obviously this is a difficult defeat," said Tigers head coach Brad Brownell. "Couldn't be prouder of my players. To show the resiliency we did throughout the game, especially in the second half when we looked like we were dead again. Our guys just have a lot of fight. They just kept coming."
Duke appeared on its way to a relatively sweatless victory after Quinn Cook's 3-pointer with 12:23 remaining staked the Blue Devils to a 47-34 advantage. The margin was 10 midway through the second half when Clemson began to catch fire and change the game's momentum.
Two straight buckets by Landry Nnoko ignited a 13-6 Tigers run that culminated with back-to-back threes from Damarcus Harrison and Hall, with the latter pulling Clemson within 56-53 with 3:50 left to play. The teams traded baskets over the next two minutes before Harrison went coast-to-coast after Sulaimon misfired on a corner 3-point try to cut the lead to one, 60-59, with 1:43 remaining.
Sulaimon made 1-of-2 from the line on the ensuing possession and McDaniels was fouled by Amile Jefferson on Clemson's next trip down the court. The 85 percent free-throw shooter hit the first attempt but left the second short, keeping the Tigers still on the short end of a 61-60 score.
Sulaimon then threw up a wild layup with the shot clock winding down that was well off the mark, and Hall sped down the court and dropped in a nifty runner off the glass that sent Clemson in front with just 7.4 ticks left.
The Blue Devils got the ball inside to Hood, who got the call as he put up an off-balance shot amidst an angry protest from the Clemson bench. He calmly sank both tries from the line, and the Blue Devils survived when Hall dribbled the ball off Sulaimon's shoulder as he fell down while appearing to draw contact.
"Coach knew he wanted to get me the ball and I tried to make something happen at the rim and the referee didn't call nothing," said Hall. "So I just had to deal with it."
Duke, which was held to just 40 percent shooting by the Tigers' persistent defense, jumped out to a 13-6 lead seven minutes in before Clemson countered with an 11-4 surge to pull even with 6:51 left in the first half. The game remained tight over the remainder of the period, with the Blue Devils entering the break up 29-25 following consecutive dunks from Hood and Parker.
The Blue Devils began to create some distance during the early stages of the second half, putting forth an 11-2 burst to claim its largest lead of the night.
Sulaimon netted the first four points of the run, which concluded on a Thornton 3-pointer and Hood's successful jumper that increased Duke's lead to 42-29 with just over 14 minutes left.Game Notes
Clemson shot 51.2 percent (22-of-43) from the field, but went just 4-of-16
from 3-point range ... Duke has now won 15 of its last 16 quarterfinal tests
in the ACC Tournament, having a 14-game streak snapped with last year's loss
to Maryland ... The Blue Devils improved to 37-16 all-time in tournament games
held at the Greensboro Coliseum ... Jefferson finished with 13 rebounds,
including six on the offensive glass ... Duke blew out N.C. State in its lone
encounter with the Wolfpack this season, rolling to a 95-60 victory in Durham
on Jan. 18.