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Nelson's 24 points helps Duke defeat Clemson

Jan 20, 2008 - 6:26 AM DURHAM, North Carolina (Ticker) -- DeMarcus Nelson helped Duke continue to own Clemson.

Nelson matched his career high with 24 points as the fifth-ranked Blue Devils posted a 93-80 Atlantic Coast Conference victory over the 23rd-ranked Tigers on Saturday.

Freshman Kyle Singler scored 17 points and Gerald Henderson added 16 for Duke (15-1, 3-0 ACC), which has won 22 straight games against Clemson.

"I'm really proud of our team," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "We beat an outstanding basketball team tonight. I was real impressed with Clemson. They're men, and they're coached by a man."

The Blue Devils, who have also won 11 in a row vs. the Tigers here, used a huge second-half burst to cruise to the win.

"A lot of guys contributed throughout the whole game and we forced a lot of turnovers and were able to convert on those miscues," Nelson said.

"I didn't think that we played particularly well here today," Clemson coach Oliver Purnell said. "As always Duke usually has something to do with that - their fierce defense. I thought that our inability to take care of the basketball in both halves kept us from really getting any kind of lead, or getting any kind of working margin."

After Trevor Booker made a layup to cut Clemson's deficit to 61-60 with 10:22 left, Duke went on a 21-4 run that was capped by a 3-pointer from the arc by Singler to give the Blue Devils an 81-65 advantage with 5:43 to play.

Nelson, who had a layup in the burst, scored 15 of his total after intermission while connecting on 10-of-13 from the floor.

"DeMarcus scoring 24 points on 13 shots was tremendous, and he played really good defense," Krzyzewski said. "He's been an outstanding leader for us and he keeps getting better. He's been the rock for our team."

"DeMarcus was great," Henderson said. "He's been a great leader all year and played a heck of a game tonight. Even from the beginning of the game, he was looking to score and be aggressive and that's the way he needs to be."

Reserves Nolan Smith and Jon Scheyer scored 13 and 12 points, respectively, for Duke, which shot 53 percent (31-of-58) and scored 37 points off 21 Clemson turnovers.

"Scheyer and Nolan coming off the bench did extremely well, particularly Nolan, being a freshman and playing in this type of environment," Nelson said.

"As a team we didn't take care of the basketball and I would say that led to our demise," Purnell said.

K.C. Rivers scored 16 points and Trevor Booker and freshman Demontez Stitt each contributed 15 for the Tigers (14-4, 2-2), who also shot 53 percent (33-of-62) but that could not prevent them from dropping to 4-54 all-time at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

"Anytime you come and play on a team's home court the pressure has a tendency to be ratcheted up." Purnell said. "I think anytime a team gets a fast-break dunk or layup the crowd gets more into it, the team gets more hyped and all that kind of stuff. That's part of that home-court advantage."