While the final score wasn’t close, Clemson seemed to be in position to upset #1 Duke for a majority of the first half. However, even in the first 15 minutes, missed opportunities cost the Tigers who eventually fell 87-68.
Despite not playing its best offense, Clemson was in control for the first 10 minutes of the game. Elijah Thomas asserted himself in the paint & Duke’s star freshmen, minus Zion, struggled to score.
In addition to Thomas, Clyde Trapp and Marcquise Reed provided solid early offense for Clemson. Both hit one three and scored seven points.
Despite these contributions, turnovers kept Clemson from pulling in the first half. Then, Duke’s offense struck; two Jack White threes with fewer than five minutes to play sparked a run that put the Blue Devils up eight. At the half, the Tigers trailed 40-33.
Instead of coming out strong, Clemson immediately gave up another Jack White three – the deficit grew to 10. They responded by turning the ball over and giving up a three to RJ Barrett, and while there was still 19 minutes to play, the game was over.
The second half of this game is something the Tigers probably want to forget. Unfortunately, Zion Williamson made sure this game will never be forgotten thanks to this NSFW dunk.
There isn’t much to take away from a game like this. Duke is an incredibly talented team that has four players with lottery potential for the draft.
Thomas was the only Tiger able to shoot above 50% (7/9) from the field, posting 14 points on 7/9. Most his impact came early, going 5/5 in the first half.
Clemson needed to play a perfect game to win. Instead, they turned the ball over 19 times and shot 43% om the field.
Time to focus on Monday night.