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January 14, 2006There was a familiar sound coming from Littlejohn Coliseum Saturday as Duke dispatched Clemson for the 19th straight time in the series.
Clemson's unmitigated disaster from the foul line spoiled their chances at an upset in a game the Tigers played well in otherwise.
Duke was 29-of-36 from the charity stripe while the Tigers were an embarrasing 6-of-21. That 23 point disparity was more than enough to make the difference in Duke's 87-77 road triumph.
Duke had five players in double figures, butJ.J. Redick's 34 points again paced the Duke offense. The senior co-captain never left the floor, playing all 40 minutes and hitting on 10-of-16 shot attempts from the field.
He got plenty of help from Shelden Williams, who recorded his usual double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds.
Greg Paulus, Sean Dockery, and Lee Melchionni each had 10 points.
Duke's defense wasn't as dominating as it was against Maryland Wednesday night, as Clemson put together a solid game offensively.
The Tigers used effective dribble penetration, battled their way to 19 offensive rebounds, and got a career game from guard Vernon Hamilton to stay within striking distance.
The Devils were able to force enough turnovers to get a few easy baskets on the other end. Duke got 18 points off of turnovers and outscored Clemson in fast break points 14-6.
Hamilton put up 31 points, repeatedly knocking down mid-range jump shots and working his way into the lane to finish at the basket. Hamilton wasn't immune from the free throw plague, though, hitting just 2-of-6 from the stripe to contribute to the team problem.
Clemson got good performances from Shawan Robinson and Cliff Hammonds as well. Robinson hit 3-of-6 from three point range on his way to 17 points.
Hammonds also hit double figures with 10 points but was a big factor defensively with three steals and six rebounds from his guard position.
The game stayed close for most of the first half. Clemson held a 24-22 lead at the 9:39 mark of the first half and again led 31-30 with 5:00 to go, but Duke closed the half on a 14-7 run to take a 44-38 lead to the locker room.
Clemson was still within range in the game's final two minutes, trailing 76-71 when Akin Akingbala scored in the paint.
Duke quickly responded by moving down the floor against pressure and Redick hit Dockery for a wide open layup to push the lead back to seven at 78-71.
From that point, Duke had to just make free throws to close out their 16th victory of the season.