No. 24 Duke posted its most recent win in a manner that befits this season’s team: These Blue Devils have to be gritty rather than pretty.
Duke failed to shoot 40% for the third consecutive game, yet used its second-half defense and game-long rebounding prowess in a 77-69, come-from-behind win against Pittsburgh on Wednesday.
Now, the Blue Devils (13-4, 4-2 ACC) hit the road to see if that style plays away from Cameron Indoor Stadium. Duke plays ACC-leading Clemson on Saturday in a 5 p.m. game that projects to be just as much a muck-it-up affair as the win against Pitt.
The Tigers (14-3, 6-0) allow just 66.8 points per game, a few points more that Duke’s defense has allowed (62.9). Clemson opponents have hit 39.4% of their shots from the field. The Blue Devils have shot 43.4% this season.
In beating Pitt on Wednesday, Duke shot only 36% while hitting just 6 of 27 3-pointers (22%). But, the Blue Devils outrebounded the Panthers by 23. Duke nearly had as many offensive rebounds (23) as Pitt did total rebounds (28).
Defensively, Duke limited Pitt to just 28.6% shooting in the second half, which allowed the Blue Devils to rally from 12 points down to win despite their own shooting woes.
Against Clemson, Duke will have to control a veteran core led by 6-10 junior PJ Hall, 6-3 junior Chase Hunter and 6-8 senior Hunter Tyson. Their play is a major reason why the Tigers are atop the ACC standings.
Duke expects to again be without its most experienced player as junior guard Jeremy Roach remains sidelined with a top injury on his right foot. He’s already missed three games due to the injury, including Duke’s past two contests.
“Unless something crazy changes, he won’t be available for Saturday, either,” Duke coach Jon Scheyer said Wednesday night. “We want to make sure that he’s back 100% before he comes back.”
Tipoff time + TV channel for Saturday’s game
The game will start at 5 p.m. Saturday and air on ACC Network, which is available on major cable and satellite services such as Spectrum, Dish Network and DirecTV.
How to stream Duke vs. Clemson game online
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Game day details: Duke vs. Clemson
Teams: Duke Blue Devils vs Clemson Tigers
Where: Littlejohn Coliseum, Clemson, S.C.
Date: Saturday, Jan. 14
Time: 5 p.m.
TV: ACC Network
Series history: Duke and Clemson will meet for the 147th time with the Blue Devils leading the all-time series 114-32. Duke has won eight of the past 10 games against Clemson, including an 82-64 win at Littlejonn Coliseum last Feb. 10.