Chronicle postgame: Duke men's basketball vs. Clemson

Chronicle postgame: Duke men's basketball vs. Clemson

The fifth-seeded Blue Devils survived a scare in their first game of the ACC tournament, holding off No. 12 Clemson 79-72 at the Barclays Center in New York. The Chronicle's Amrith Ramkumar broke down what pushed Duke to victory and looked ahead to the Blue Devils' quarterfinal matchup Thursday against No. 4 seed Louisville.

0:41—How Duke struggled to shoot the ball in the first half to keep Clemson in the game

1:26—What freshmen Frank Jackson and Jayson Tatum did to help the Blue Devils take some momentum into halftime and build a lead to open the second half

1:53—Why Duke is still searching for an identity with time running out on its season Read more »

Halftime: Duke 33, Clemson 33

NEW YORK—After playing 12 straight games decided by 10 points or fewer, the Blue Devils entered the postseason hoping to pick up a stress-free victory.

Instead, Duke is in another dogfight. 

Despite getting out to a 9-3 lead and holding the Tigers to 36.4 percent shooting, the Blue Devils are tied at 33 in the second round of the ACC tournament at the Barclays Center thanks to 16 Clemson free throws. Junior Grayson Allen picked up three first-half fouls, including a technical for slamming the ball down with 4:52 left following a second straight over-the-back foul that gave the Tigers four free throws and their first lead of the day at 23-22.

The incident was part of a sloppy half that saw leading scorer Luke Kennard shoot just 1-of-9 and Duke squander early chances to build an early lead against a less talented opponent once again.  Read more »

Key three: Duke men's basketball vs. Clemson

Key three: Duke men's basketball vs. Clemson

Duke will open ACC tournament play needing a win just to get into the quarterfinals for the second straight year, as it prepares to face No. 12 seed Clemson. The Blue Devils are playing for a potential top-four seed and a trip to Greenville to start the NCAA tournament. Here are three keys to the game:

Slow Down Blossomgame

Clemson’s entire offense flows through its best player, redshirt senior Jaron Blossomgame. The third-team All-ACC selection is a matchup nightmare for opponents at 6-foot-7, as he can punish smaller defenders in the post and has the quickness and shooting touch to step out to the perimeter to exploit big men who try to guard him. He is averaging 17.5 points per game and is a strong finisher at the rim who likes to crash the offensive boards to secure second-chance buckets. Duke senior Matt Jones will likely draw the task of slowing Blossomgame, which he did effectively in the regular season, but it will require an entire team effort to stop the redshirt senior, who will attempt to exploit Duke’s lack of size inside.

Protect the Interior

The last time these two teams matched up, the Blue Devils came away with a hard fought 64-62 victory. But Duke was shredded inside, as the Tigers held a 34-18 advantage in the paint. Sophomore Elijah Thomas was the main culprit, notching 15 points and nine rebounds and exploiting graduate student Amile Jefferson in the point. Rebounding has been a problem for the Blue Devils all season, and Duke was pounded inside once again in their last game against North Carolina. Figuring out how to protect the defensive glass will be critical for the Blue Devils against Clemson and as they continue in the ACC tournament if they win.

Get Grayson Back on Track

Junior Grayson Allen has been cold lately, only shooting better than 40 percent from the field in one of Duke’s last six games. Allen has also been nursing an ankle injury that forced him to miss the Blue Devils’ loss to Miami and has seen him come off the bench in the past two games. The mercurial shooting guard has seen his share of controversy this season, but is key to Duke’s chances of winning its 20th ACC championship. The Jacksonville native rediscovering his shooting stroke would give the Blue Devils another reliable scoring option on the perimeter and take pressure off of sophomore Luke Kennard, who has had to carry an increasing amount of the offensive burden. Read more »

Chronicle pregame: Duke men's basketball vs. Clemson

Chronicle pregame: Duke men's basketball vs. Clemson

With Duke set to open postseason play against Clemson Wednesday afternoon at the Barclays Center in New York, The Chronicle's Hank Tucker and Amrith Ramkumar break down the matchup and discuss what to watch for in the whole ACC tournament.

0:43—How Clemson stayed close with Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium Feb. 11

1:56—Whether the Blue Devils can contain Shelton Mitchell on the perimeter after he scored 23 points on them in the regular season

2:40—What to expect from a less than full speed Grayson Allen this week Read more »

X Factor: Duke men's basketball vs. Clemson

X Factor: Duke men's basketball vs. Clemson

Losers of three of their last four games, the Blue Devils will try to build some momentum this week at the ACC tournament in New York, starting with Wednesday's game agains No. 12 seed Clemson. The Blue Zone takes a look at a player from each team who could be the difference-maker in the game:

Duke: Guard Frank Jackson

As Grayson Allen’s playing time has diminished due to recent injuries and a lack of effectiveness on the court, Jackson has stepped up since taking over the starting role against Miami. In his last three contests, the rookie guard is averaging more than 17 points per game and has converted on 7-of-12 attempts from beyond the arc.

Although Luke Kennard and Jayson Tatum are the leaders the Duke offense, Jackson has emerged as another scoring threat. With his ability to explode to the basket, if Jackson can shoot the 3-pointer at a consistent rate, he will draw more attention to himself, space the defense and create holes through which the Blue Devils can attack. Read more »

This week in Duke history: North Carolina College for Negroes routs Duke medical school basketball team in secret game

Before there was the Civil Rights Act, before there was Brown v. Board of Education, before there was Rosa Parks, there was Duke and N.C. Central basketball?

On March 12, 1944, medical students at Duke—many of whom had played in college at the varsity level either at Duke or other programs—faced off against the crosstown school that was then known as North Carolina College for Negroes.

Significantly, it was black players on one team vs. white players on the other, which would have made the game illegal at the time thanks to Jim Crow laws. But the game was organized secretly, played in the North Carolina College gym, and the Eagles defeated Duke 88-44.

The story stayed under wraps for more than half a century before New York Times reporter Scott Ellsworth broke the story in a 1996 feature while covering former North Carolina College head coach and current Hall of Famer, the late John McClendon. Read more »

Thoughts on the AP poll: Week 17

Thoughts on the AP poll: Week 17

The final rankings from the regular season were released Monday, featuring six teams from the ACC.

ACC madness

The ACC showed once again last week that almost every team in the conference is good enough to beat anybody. Starting at the top, No. 5 North Carolina lost to a skidding No. 23 Virginia Monday but came back to beat rival No. 17 Duke Saturday. But the Blue Devils—who were coming off two close losses to Syracuse and Miami—stopped their slide earlier in the week with a solid Senior Night victory against No. 15 Florida State Tuesday. 

No. 25 Miami, which had just entered the rankings last week because of wins against Virginia and Duke, suffered losses to unranked Virginia Tech and the Seminoles. No. 8 Louisville also took a loss on the road, victimized by unranked bubble team Wake Forest Wednesday. Nonetheless, needing a victory to clinch a double-bye in the ACC Tournament, the Cardinals defeated No. 19 Notre Dame at home Saturday. Read more »

Around the ACC: Week 17

Around the ACC: Week 17

The ACC regular season wrapped up Saturday, and all 15 teams will be headed to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., this week for the ACC Tournament.

No. 5 North Carolina (26-6, 14-4)

After already clinching the top seed in the ACC tournament last week, the Tar Heels wrapped up an outright ACC regular season title this week. Despite losing to Virginia 53-43 on Monday, the worst offensive performance for North Carolina in the shot-clock era, the Tar Heels cleaned things up in their season finale rivalry matchup against Duke Saturday on Senior Night. 

Led by a sharp performance from Joel Berry II, who dropped 28 points on a perfect 5-of-5 from behind the arc, the Tar Heels defeated the Blue Devils 90-83. Berry leads the team in 3-point shooting percentage, firing at a 42.6 percent clip for the season. North Carolina is riding strong into the tournament and is looking for a strong performance next week to put itself in the conversation for a top seed in the NCAA tournament. Read more »

Chronicle postgame: Duke men's basketball vs. North Carolina

Chronicle postgame: Duke men's basketball vs. North Carolina

Duke struggled to defend North Carolina in a 90-83 loss in Chapel Hill in its regular-season finale, with the Tar Heels controlling the offensive glass and shooting better than 50 percent from the field. The Chronicle's Brian Pollack and Hank Tucker reacted to Duke's loss and broke down where the Blue Devils need to improve heading into the postseason.

0:17—How Joel Berry II got hot from the perimeter and starred for the Tar Heels

0:43—What North Carolina did to wear Duke down in the post to the tune of 44 points in the paint Read more »