Duke Hangs On In Littlejon

Last time it was a timing error that helped Duke escape against Clemson. On Thursday night clock couldn't run out fast enough for the young Blue Devils, who struggled but ultimately held on to the lead in a 71-66 victory.

DeMarcus Nelson scored 16 points and grabbed six rebounds to lead the Blue Devils to their 21st victory of the season, and eighth in conference - assuring at least a .500 overall mark in the ACC for the 11th straight season.

After Clemson tied the game at 13 on a lay-up by sam Perry. At that point Duke took control on the strength of nine points from Nelson as part of a 15-1 run to give the Blue Devils a comfortable working margin for the rest of the opening half.

All told, the Blue Devils knocked down 15 of their 26 first half attempts, while owning the boards by a 20-12 margin to push the lead to 42-21 at intermission. While the offense was good, the defense was better - holding hte Tigers without a field goal for the better part of 10 minutes.

Though it seemed like Duke was in complete control with such a big halftime lead, the Tigers weren't ready to pack it in, and served notice that the Blue Devils would have to earn their 21st straight series win.

Clemson stormed out of the gates in the second half with an 21-5 run to cut the lead to five, while also improving the defensive effort and forcing Blue Devil misfires on nine of Duke's first 11 shots.

As the game continued to get more and more physical, Clemson seemed to gain confidence. After pulling to within six at 51-45, Trevor Booker appeared to tip in a Cliff Hammonds miss but the basket was waived off and Duke scored five unanswered points to push the advantage back to 11.

The Tigers would make a handful of small runs, but Duke was able to answer each time to hold on down the stretch.

Paulus finished with 14 points, and 6 assists while Scheyer added a team high 18 points and five rebounds of his own. Meanwhile, Josh McRoberts added 10 points and six rebounds.

Duke will travel to New York for a non-conference tilt against St. John's on Sunday afternoon.

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