Tigers Hang Tough, but Fall to #1 Duke

For a team that most experts consider to be young and overmatched, the Tigers gave the number one team in the nation all they could handle for a good while Sunday night. Led by Chris Hobbs with 25 points and 8 rebounds, Clemson looked more poised and under control than the last several trips to Cameron Indoor stadium, but in the end, the more talented team prevailed, 96-80.

The Tigers actually jumped out on top of the Blue Devils 9-6 through the first 5 minutes of the game, but an 11-0 run fueled by several unforced turnovers turned a 3-point lead into a double digit deficit.

The Tigers continued their aggressive play that has been on display so often in this young season. They continued to drive to the basket, they distributed the the ball to Chris Hobbs in the paint, and they were frequent visitors to the free throw line. In following that gameplan, the Tigers narrowed the gap in the closing minutes of the 1st half.

Tony Stockman and Ed Scott then hit two big three pointers in to keep the Tigers within 6 points at the break (41-47).

The interior defense of Chris Hobbs and Ray Henderson also seemed to keep the Blue Devils off balance for a large part of the game. At one point, the Tigers were outrebounding Duke to the tune of 20-6.

The Blue Devils aren't the number one team in the country for nothing though.

Duke started the 2nd half showing more intensity and focus, as a 6 point halftime advantage doubled by the first TV timeout thanks to an eventual 16-5 Blue Devil run. Clemson continued to struggle from the field from that point on, making only one of their first eleven field goal attempts.

Suprisingly, Chey Christie shouldered most of the offensive load as the game came to a close, scoring 15 of his 21 points in the 2nd half.

Duke continued to maintain a 13-19 point lead for most of the 2nd half, but the Blue Devils had to fight against a scrappy Clemson team to the earn the "W" at Cameron this year.

With the loss, the Tigers fell to 5-2 on the year and 0-1 in the ACC.

Other Notes:
The Tigers' continued to play aggressively on the boards, outrebounding the Blue Devils by 12.

Duke (6-0) improved to 72-9 in its last 81 ACC games and beat Clemson for the 12th straight time- the last eight coming by double digits.

Clemson registered 22 turnovers as Duke stayed in 3/4 court press for most of the evening.

Tony Stockman struggled offensively, making only of 3 of 14 shots.

         FINAL               1ST 2ND     TOTAL
                             --- ---     -----
         CLEMSON              41  39       80
         DUKE (1)             47  49       96    FINAL

                DUKE - CARLOS BOOZER 23, JASON WILLIAMS 19

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