Frank Jackson leads Duke out of tunnel for second half of Blue Devils' win over Clemson. (Photo by Ray Floriani/Daly Dose Of Hoops)
By Ray Floriani (@rfloriani)
BROOKLYN -- Duke advanced to a quarterfinal meeting with Louisville by defeating Clemson, 79-72. The Blue Devils led by 13 points midway through the second half before weathering a late comeback by the Tigers. Duke improved to 24-8, while Clemson fell to 17-15.
First five possessions
Duke: Missed field goal, field goal, missed field goal, two free throws, three-point field goal
Clemson: Turnover, turnover, one free throw, turnover, missed field goal
The 7-1 Duke start at the 17:28 mark of the first half was more uptempo than the Miami-Syracuse game that preceded the Blue Devils on the floor, and not the start Clemson needed; not just being down two possessions early, but by turning it over on three occasions.
First half observations: Despite the awful start, Clemson regrouped and trailed by one possession at the 8-minute media timeout. Duke doubled the low post on catches by the Clemson bigs. Once again, Jaron Blossomgame was effective for the Tigers.
Clemson took a lead late in the half, drawing fouls and on the defensive end, keeping the game to more of a half court tempo. In the last few minutes of the half, Duke did get out in transition to get a few easy baskets, making tempo a big factor here.
Possessions: Clemson 35, Duke 33
Offensive efficiency: Duke 100, Clemson 92
Second half observations: Clemson needed a timeout before the four minutes expired. Duke was able to push the pace and get a few transition baskets. At the 16-minute mark, the Blue Devils owned a 44-37 lead by dominating the first four by an 11-4 count.
A 9-2 run by Duke, culminating with a Frank Jackson three-pointer, pushed the lead to 13 with just under ten minutes to play. Duke’s offense was clicking, and on the other end, the defense stepped up. The Tigers struggled to get off an uncontested attempt from the field in that stretch.
They call it a hustle stat, but it really doesn’t show in the stat sheet: Getting loose balls. Duke is able to get to more than their share of those up for grabs, and it made a difference on Wednesday.
As well as Duke was playing this half, Clemson remained resilient and did make one last run, getting the deficit to one possession with just over three minutes to play. Luke Kennard continuously bailed Duke out by hitting big shots, helping the Blue Devils maintain the lead and close it out from the foul line.
Possessions: Duke 70, Clemson 71
Offensive efficiency: Duke 113, Clemson 101
Effective field goal percentage: Duke 53, Clemson 43
Free throw rate: Duke 30, Clemson 46
Offensive rebound percentage: Duke 27, Clemson 29
Turnover rate: Duke 13, Clemson 18
Leading scorers and effectiveness factors:
Duke: Jayson Tatum, 20 points, (EF 31) Luke Kennard, 20 points, (EF 27) Frank Jackson, 20 points (EF 22)
Clemson: Jaron Blossomgame, 19 points (EF 22)
What Duke did well: Spread the wealth. With three 20-point scorers, the Blue Devils were difficult to guard and as the offensive efficiency tells, efficient on the offensive end.
What Clemson did well: Get to the line and show a good deal of resilience, especially with a late game second half comeback.
NOTES: Duke led 40-34 on points in the paint. For Clemson, Blossomgame saw his overall effectiveness hindered by a game-high six turnovers. Duke put four in double figures. Clemson coach Brad Brownell noted the presence of several scorers negates any double-teams, as that method of defending leaves one of those scorers open for a three.
Despite the late run, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski felt his team defended well overall. On his team’s behalf, Krzyzewski felt his team was not as effective on the offensive end in the first half. The tale of two halves for the Blue Devils went as follows:
First half: 33 possessions, 33 points (100 efficiency)
Second half: 37 possessions, 46 points (124 efficiency)
Postgame Quotes (courtesy of ASAP Sports)