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Duke demolishes Clemson without Okafor

Feb 22, 2015 - 12:48 AM Durham, NC ( - No Jahlil Okafor, no problem for Duke.

The fourth-ranked Blue Devils overcame the absence of their star freshman with ease, rolling to a 78-56 victory over Clemson with Okafor sitting out due to a sprained left ankle.

Quinn Cook and Justise Winslow helped offset Okafor's loss with huge games for Duke (24-3, 11-3 ACC). Both matched career highs with 27 and 20 points, respectively, with Winslow grabbing a personal-best 13 rebounds in the rout.

Tyus Jones added 11 points and nine assists in the Blue Devils' seventh consecutive win, which came far easier than Wednesday's come-from-behind, 92-90 overtime triumph over rival North Carolina in which Okafor sustained his injury.

"That was one of the best wins we've had here in a long time," Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "After Syracuse and North Carolina, the emotional wins, and Jahlil's injury, we're down to seven guys. For us to play like this is spectacular. I'm so proud of them."

Clemson (15-12, 7-8) struggled on both ends in suffering a fourth loss in five outings on the heels of a four-game win streak. Jaron Blossomgame was the lone Tiger to score in double figures, finishing with 10 points.

The Tigers started the game strong, building an 11-6 lead five minutes in after Landry Nnoko followed a Damarcus Harrison 3-pointer with a successful jumper. The wheels came off for Clemson shortly afterward, however, as Duke flexed its muscles and dominated the rest of the way.

Grayson Allen's layup and free throw began a 16-2 Blue Devils' run in which Winslow tallied nine points, the last two on an uncontested basket off a Tigers' turnover that gave Duke a 29-17 advantage with 6 1/2 minutes left in the opening period.

"Justise got it going today, and he kind of started the tempo off. We just fed off what he was doing," said Cook.

Clemson never got the deficit into single digits from that moment on, with Duke extending the margin to as high as 16 points in the first half and taking a comfortable 42-27 lead into the intermission on Cook's buzzer-beating jumper.

Winslow put up 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting prior to the break, while Cook had 17 on a 6-of-8 showing from the field in the second half as Duke continued to score at will.

The Tigers stayed within striking distance early in the final stanza, with 3- pointers from Donte Grantham and Gabe DeVoe sparking a 12-3 spurt that brought Clemson within 51-41 with 13:57 to go.

Duke then proceeded to score 10 straight points, with triples from Allen and Cook highlighting the surge. Jones and Cook each had treys during an 8-0 stretch later on that pushed the differential to 71-45 with seven minutes remaining.

"We started the game alright; we started the second half fine, but then we hit patches of adversity and some of our decision-making and ball-handling mistakes were just really poor," Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said. "They got a bunch of fast-break points, and you can't beat Duke that way."

Game Notes

The loss was the Tigers' 16th straight at Cameron Indoor Stadium, where they haven't bested Duke since Jan. 4, 1995 ... The Blue Devils also have won 29 of the last 32 meetings between the schools, though Clemson did record a 72-59 triumph at home last season ... Cook also scored 27 points in a 68-40 Duke romp over Clemson as a sophomore on Jan. 8, 2013 ... The Tigers have now dropped 14 of their last 15 matchups against ranked ACC teams.