Clemson came out gate strong in the second half, opening up a quick eight point lead with a 9-0 run in the first three and a half minutes. Gerald Henderson and Brian Zoubek then scored the next nine points for Duke as they pulled back within five at 45-40 with 14:20 left. After a Clemson bucket, Duke used a 9-2 run to tie the game at 49-49 with 11:43 left when Jon Scheyer was fouled on a three-pointer and hit all three free throws.
A Nolan Smith three at the 9:45 mark gave Duke its first lead since the break at 52-51 and the teams traded buckets, neither team holing more than a two-point lead until Jarvis Mayes was fouled by Paulus after making a lay-up and then hit his free throw to put the Tigers up 64-58. After Nelson hit a lay-up, Terrence Ogelsby nailed a three to give Clemson a 67-60 lead at the final media time out with 3:13 left.
The Blue Devils went on a 9-4 run to pull within two on Paulus' only second half points, a three with :45.1 left, making the score 71-69 in favor of Clemson. The Tigers then hit 5-of-6 from the line and got a lay-up in the game's final minute. Scheyer hit a three with :08 left before Hammonds, a 43.6 percent free throw shooter on the season, knocked down his third and fourth free throws in as many tries in the final moments. Taylor King had a put back before the buzzer on a Paulus heave for the final score.
Hammonds finished with 17 while Trevor Booker added 18 for the Tigers.
Duke did have good production off its bench with Scheyer scoring 13 points and getting a pair of steals while Brian Zoubek scored eight points and had six rebounds while tying his career high with 20 minutes. David McClure had four points and three steals while Nolan Smith had seven points in 19 minutes.
Duke will now wait to find out its NCAA Tournament fate Sunday.