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Fitting farewell: Smith, Singler lead Duke past Clemson

Mar 3, 2011 - 6:06 AM Durham, NC (Sports Network) - Nolan Smith celebrated Senior Night in style, scoring 21 points and dishing out seven assists, as fourth-ranked Duke downed the pesky Clemson Tigers, 70-59, at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

"It definitely has hit me," Smith said about playing his last game in Cameron. "I held it in pretty well as I was talking (to the fans in Cameron after the game), but it hit me once I came back to locker room. It's sad, we don't get to play in front of great fans in Cameron under the banners."

Fellow senior Kyle Singler also shined by tallying 18 points with 11 rebounds, while Seth Curry also scored 18 points for Duke (27-3, 13-2 ACC), which responded from a loss at Virginia Tech last Saturday to set up a winner-take- all bout for the ACC regular-season title this weekend at rival North Carolina.

Clemson made it difficult for Duke to look ahead to this Saturday's battle in Chapel Hill. Demontez Stitt scored 14 points with seven rebounds and four assists, while Milton Jennings posted a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Clemson (19-10, 8-7) saw its two-game winning streak come to an end and faces a must-win situation on Saturday versus Virginia Tech if it wants to ascertain any at-large possibilities.

"I thought we showed good poise and resiliency, and we were down in the first half," Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said. "We could have been knocked out early and everyone was kind of expecting that, I think, and we battled right back."

Duke ran off the game's first six points, yet the Tigers kept their composure, crept close then took an 18-17 lead on Devin Booker's bucket from in close. Again, the Blue Devils went on one of their typical spurts, scoring 11 straight, capped by a Curry three in transition, for a 31-20 edge with just under 5 1/2 minutes to go in the half.

The Tigers continued to show their resilient streak, rattling off the next 12 points with Andre Young stepping out and draining a trey and Stitt driving to the hoop for a bucket and a 32-31 lead. Clemson scored those 12 successive points in just over two minutes.

The game of runs continued, as Duke ran off eight in a row with Smith's three putting a stamp on a 46-38 lead. Clemson scored six straight several minutes later to draw within one possession, 50-48, on Stitt's three-point play and 1- of-2 free throws from Young.

Duke then embarked on a 10-2 burst to open a double-digit margin. A pair of offensive boards and two Singler free throws made the score, 60-50. Clemson never got closer than seven the rest of the way.

Game Notes

Booker finished with eight points in defeat...Young scored nine points and Jerai Grant added eight points in 11 boards for the Tigers...Only five players scored for Duke...Tyler Thornton played 18 minutes for the Blue Devils, but took just one shot and didn't score...The Blue Devils lead the all-time series, 103-29.