And one: Proctor's clutch play leads Duke men's basketball to last-second victory against Clemson

Sophomore guard Tyrese Proctor takes a deep breath at the free throw line in Duke's game against Clemson.
Sophomore guard Tyrese Proctor takes a deep breath at the free throw line in Duke's game against Clemson.

The Blue Devils won a nailbiter Saturday against Clemson in Cameron Indoor. The Blue Zone is here to break down the win with the Player of the Game and more:

One Player: Tyrese Proctor

One game after his career-best outing at Louisville, the sophomore point guard may have topped that performance Saturday afternoon at Cameron Indoor Stadium; Tyrese Proctor served as the engine for Duke’s 72-71 victory over Clemson. The Sydney native was excellent running the show for the Blue Devils, going for 18 points and five rebounds while also knocking down four threes on six attempts. None of these points were as important as the last pair, as Proctor made two clutch free throws down in a row with one second remaining to give the home team the edge over the Tigers. 

With senior guard Jeremy Roach available but still working his way back from an injury, the Australian was thrust into the starting lineup against Clemson after coming off the bench against the Cardinals. When his name was called, he filled the role admirably, playing a team-high 38 minutes while exerting impressive effort on both ends of the floor. Especially significant was his first-half defensive effort, where he held an excellent scorer in senior guard Joe Girard III to zero. In the second half, Proctor came through time and time again for his team on the offensive end. He knocked down several tough jump shots, including a Hail Mary from head coach Jon Scheyer’s spot on the sideline to put Duke back up with six minutes to go.

After dealing with an injury and some tough outings early on in the season, the star point guard seems to have found his rhythm once again — and at the perfect time. Proctor received All-American and NBA Draft lottery hype entering this season, and he is certainly playing at that level as of late. Scheyer will hope his standout floor general can keep up this level of production with a challenging matchup against North Carolina’s senior guard RJ Davis on deck Saturday. 

One Word: Thrilling

The Blue Devils have struggled to put teams away all season, enduring cold spurts throughout the second half on a regular basis. It was no different Saturday afternoon, as Duke jumped up to a sizable lead in the first half before struggling on offense to close the first period, giving the Tigers momentum that they parlayed into multiple leads during the second half. The Blue Devils’ spectacular defensive performance in the first half tapered off over the last 20 minutes, allowing a very talented Clemson team to claw its way back into the game and reach the precipice of what would have been their first win at Cameron Indoor in decades. 

But, Duke never fully backed down. An and-one from sophomore center Kyle Filipowski inside the final 30 seconds gave the Blue Devils a one-point lead — only for it to quickly evaporate after two free throws on the other end from senior center PJ Hall. With one final possession to escape with a victory, Proctor delivered, drawing a foul with one second left on the clock and draining both attempts from the foul line. One failed full court inbound later, and Cameron Indoor turned into pandemonium. 

One Stat: 21-for-33 from the free throw line

While Duke overall played a good game offensively, it struggled immensely at the free throw line. The Blue Devils’ guards and bigs alike did a great job of drawing fouls throughout the contest, shooting a total of 33 free throws. But despite the name, these shots were by no means a guarantee, as Scheyer’s unit missed an abysmal 12 tries out of those 33. Filipowski in particular struggled in this regard, going 5-for-11 on the night, a figure that will need to improve immensely if Duke wants to emerge from a tough stretch next week 2-0. 


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