CLEMSON, S.C. — Duke went from the high of battering rival UNC last weekend to the low of losing on a last-second shot to unranked Virginia two days later.
So coach Mike Krzyzewski couldn’t be happier with how his seventh-ranked Blue Devils took care of business Thursday night in an 82-64 victory over Clemson.
Trevor Keels tied his career high with 25 points and added a career-best 11 rebounds, while Mark Williams scored 16 points on 8-of-8 shooting for Duke (20-4, 10-3 Atlantic Coast Conference).
“For us, it was a great response to a very difficult loss,” Krzyzewski said.
The Blue Devils trailed much of the opening half Monday against the Cavaliers but made sure that didn’t happen against Clemson (12-12, 4-9). Duke reached 20 wins for the first time since 2020 and the 36th time in Krzyzewski’s 42 seasons.
The 7-foot-1 Williams threw down several dunks during his spotless shooting performance. Paolo Banchero had 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Blue Devils. Keels, a freshman, matched his scoring high set in the season-opening victory over Kentucky.
Duke lost at home to Virginia 69-68 on Reece Beekman’s 3-pointer with 1.1 seconds left Monday. Krzyzewski said it was several long days of players and coaches meeting to get their minds back on winning.
Keels and his teammates took it to heart.
“I think that’s what’s special about this group — everybody wants each other to succeed,” Keels said. “They told me to play like myself out there, and that’s what I did.”
Clemson, seventh in the ACC in scoring defense, couldn’t hold back Duke’s attack and fell behind by 13 points.
Clemson came as close as 43-37 on Chase Hunter’s high-flying jam with 17:14 to play. But after Krzyzewski called a timeout, the Blue Devils got back to business in defeating Clemson for the sixth time in their past seven meetings.
Williams chipped in with six rebounds, two blocks and a steal to go along with his perfect shooting, most coming a few inches from the rim.
It was the Tigers’ third loss in six days, all coming since starter Hunter Tyson broke his clavicle in a victory over Florida State.
The game took an ugly turn when Clemson starting guard David Collins lost the ball to Wendell Moore Jr., who took off for what should’ve been an uncontested layup. Instead, a charging Collins undercut Moore, who came down hard.
Krzyzewski called it a “dangerous” play.
“He didn’t see himself. We saw him,” Krzyzewski said. “He was parallel to the ground, 8 feet in the air.”
Krzyzewski charged onto the court and players from both sides began yelling at each other while order was restored.
Collins was ejected. Before he left, Clemson coach Brad Brownell brought him over to apologize. Collins was seen saying, “That’s on me” as he hugged Krzyzewski, coaching a final time at Littlejohn Coliseum.
Krzyzewski accepted Collins’ words and Collins put out an apology to Moore on social media. He said he was trying to go for a block but was too late and couldn’t stop.
“I never have been a dirty player, never,” he wrote.
This game was originally set for Dec. 30 until COVID-19 issues postponed it.
Elon 70, James Madison 66
HARRISONBURG, Va. — Hunter McIntosh had a season-high 23 points as Elon edged past James Madison 70-66 on Thursday night.
McIntosh was 5 of 15 from the field, with all five makes from distance, for Elon (8-17, 5-7 Colonial Athletic Association). Hunter Woods added six assists and Michael Graham had three blocks.
Vado Morse had 17 points and six rebounds for the Dukes (13-10, 4-8). Julien Wooden added 17 points. Justin Amadi had 12 points.
The Phoenix improve to 2-0 against the Dukes for the season. Elon defeated James Madison 90-67 on Jan. 17.
UNC Greensboro 86, The Citadel 66
GREENSBORO — Bas Leyte had a career-high 20 points as UNC Greensboro rolled past The Citadel 86-66 on Thursday night.
Kaleb Hunter had 19 points and six rebounds for UNC Greensboro (15-10, 7-6 Southern Conference). Miles Jones added 12 points and Keyshaun Langley had 11 points.
Jason Roche had 23 points for the Bulldogs (10-13, 4-8). Hayden Brown added 21 points and 10 rebounds.
The Spartans evened the season series against the Bulldogs. The Citadel defeated UNC Greensboro 74-69 on Jan. 13.
Appalachian State 65, Georgia Southern 61
BOONE — Adrian Delph had 19 points and 11 rebounds as Appalachian State narrowly beat Georgia Southern 65-61 on Thursday night.
Michael Almonacy and Donovan Gregory added 15 points each and James Lewis Jr. had 10 points for Appalachian State (16-10, 10-3 Sun Belt Conference).
Andrei Savrasov had 13 points for the Eagles (11-11, 4-7). Elijah McCadden and Cam Bryant each had 10 points.
The Mountaineers improve to 2-0 against the Eagles for the season. Appalachian State defeated Georgia Southern 70-62 on Jan. 22.
Louisiana Tech 82, Charlotte 77
CHARLOTTE — Kenneth Lofton Jr. had 18 points as Louisiana Tech narrowly beat Charlotte 82-77 on Thursday night.
Keaston Willis added 16 points for the Bulldogs, while Cobe Williams chipped in 15. Amorie Archibald had 14 points for Louisiana Tech (18-6, 9-3 Conference USA).
Jahmir Young had 28 points and three blocks for the 49ers (13-10, 6-5). Austin Butler added 15 points and 10 rebounds.