Sunday, January 3, 2010

Clemson-Duke rivalry growing

DURHAM - The score of Sunday night's game - 74-53 in favor of Duke - didn't necessarily reflect it, but there's no question that a healthy basketball rivalry is developing between the Blue Devils and Clemson.

It was obvious when Duke forward Kyle Singler jawed a bit at Clemson's Trevor Booker after blocking his shot late in the first half. It was obvious from Booker's response.

"I still got him on SportsCenter (with a dunk last year), so it's all cool," Booker said.

Until the past year and a half or so, Duke-Clemson was one of the least interesting basketball series in the ACC. The Blue Devils had defeated Clemson 22 times in a row until the Tigers won in the 2007 ACC Tournament semifinals.

Clemson followed that up with a 74-47 win in the teams' lone meeting last season and has appeared in two straight NCAA Tournaments under coach Oliver Purnell. Duke's players were eager to erase the memories of last year's loss.

"It's something that has stayed with us, obviously," Duke guard Jon Scheyer said.

The Blue Devils played like it meant something extra on Sunday, forcing the Tigers to miss 25 of their 30 first-half field goal attempts. It was Clemson's 13th consecutive loss at Cameron Indoor Stadium, and the eight Tiger players who hadn't played in that arena had a dreadful night.

They combined to shoot 3-for-20 from the field with eight points and nine turnovers. It would take a win at Cameron for the rivalry to grow even more, but Clemson coach Oliver Purnell said that won't be easy to accomplish.

"They've got an unbelievable crowd; they're into it all the time," Purnell said. "At least since I can remember, they've had great teams and great coaches, and they have great tradition. It's a small building, it can get hot in here, it can get loud."

Ken Tysiac


Maroussia said...

It will be great to watch Clemson Tigers,i have bought tickets from looking forward to it.