Clemson (13-11) was once again unable to find a way to win close, losing in the final seconds to Duke (20-5) 64-62. This is the eighth loss of six-or-less points this season for the Tigers.
The loss also means that barring any miracles, Clemson, is likely eliminated from contention for the NCAA tournament. Going into the game, they had a 13.6 percent chance of making the tournament and that number will only go down.
In the loss, Clemson kept it close against another one of the nation’s top team, wiping away an abysmal first half to take a 45-44 lead on a Marcquise Reed with 10:10 left in the half. The dunk capped off a 9-0 run for the Tigers, which was snapped on the following possession by a Luke Kennard three-pointer.
After a layup from Shelton Mitchell to tie the game at 47, Kennard once again responded with a three to put Duke up 50-47.
Marcquise Reed's steal and dunk gave Clemson a 45-44 lead. Sharpshooter Luke Kennard showed up with his scope and nailed a pair of 3s— Patrick M. Obley (@FO_PMO) February 11, 2017
Although Clemson would come close, Kennard would not allow the Tigers to rally back. He scored 15 of Duke’s 20 points after the Reed dunk.
The game came down to one final chance Clemson to win. They were set to inbounds the ball under their own basket with six seconds left to play and no timeouts.
Last possession of the Clemson Duke game pic.twitter.com/SYGixSlok1— Jake Brodsky (@brodskysauce) February 11, 2017
Duke’s press defense forced the ball out of bounds near midcourt and then on the ensuing play Clemson failed to get a shot off.
Despite the loss, Clemson did have a few bright spots. Shelton Mitchell played excellent in the loss. He scored 23 points with 2-2 from deep in his highest scoring game of the season.
Elijah Thomas, who set the tone early by scoring the game's first four points, added 15 points, nine rebounds and two blocks.
Jaron Blossomgame struggled for the Tigers, scoring just seven points on 3-of-12 from the field.
Next up for the Tigers is Wake Forest at Littlejohn on Tuesday night.