Saturday, January 2, 2010

Clemson debacle still hurts Duke's Smith

DURHAM - Duke junior guard Nolan Smith called the Blue Devils' last game with Clemson the worst game he's experienced at any level of basketball.

On Feb. 4 at Clemson, the Tigers handed Duke a crushing, 74-47 defeat. On Sunday in Duke's ACC opener at 7:45 p.m. at Cameron Indoor Stadium, the Blue Devils will meet Clemson for the first time since that loss.

"That night was just so awful," Smith said.

For Smith, the game was the start of a late-season slide in which he lost his confidence after a strong start. He struggled against the Tigers' full-court pressure defense, committing four turnovers, and scored three points in 23 minutes.

He was removed from the starting lineup, later suffered a severe concussion at Maryland and didn't regain his confidence or productivity until the ACC Tournament. This time, he is determined not to let Clemson's pressure knock him back.

"Just attack it and look to score out of it," Smith said. "That's going to give you the edge."

Smith has become one of the most productive players in the ACC this season, ranking third in the conference in scoring at 18.0 points per game. His game has progressed to the point where he's beyond the struggles of last season.

But at the same time, he is holding on to the memory of his most frustrating loss.

"We definitely remember the last time we played against them," Smith said. "We have a lot of guys that are veterans that played in that game. It's behind us, but it's not."

Ken Tysiac


Maroussia said...

It will be great to watch Duke Blue Devils, i have bought tickets from looking forward to it.