DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Duke coach Jon Scheyer didn't want to say too much to Tyrese Proctor before the guard headed to the line with 1 second left and the 12th-ranked Blue Devils down a point to Clemson.
“I just told him, ‘You’ve got it,'” Scheyer said.
Proctor hit both free throws to help Duke hang on for Saturday's 72-71 win, barely averting the program's first home loss to the Tigers in nearly three decades.
Despite Clemson star big man PJ Hall getting the better of preseason Associated Press All-American Kyle Filipowski, the Blue Devils (16-4, 6-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) did just enough to survive what turned into a chaotic and — for the Tigers — a frustrating finish.
With his team trailing by one, Proctor raced up the court and ran into two defenders near the top of the arc before pushing inside the paint to draw a foul from Josh Beadle. Proctor ended up on the floor, the “Cameron Crazies” erupted in a relieved roar while Tigers coach Brad Brownell immediately ripped off his sportscoat as he turned back to his bench at the opposite end of the court.
Proctor made the first to tie the game at 71. Then the second: a deep breath, two dribbles and a clean make for the lead.
“I haven't been shooting the free throw that well this season,” said Proctor, who was shooting 72.2% at the line. “I know I'm one of the best free-throw shooters in the country, and just took my time and knocked them both in.”
That gave the Tigers (13-6, 3-5) a final desperate possession, with Joseph Girard III heaving a long throw for Hall — who ended up in a collision with Duke defender Mark Mitchell, sending both to the court as the horn sounded.
Within moments, Brownell was giving officials an earful near the bench, then pulling back Chase Hunter and Girard from venting their frustrations at the final sequence at the officials.
Clemson hasn't won at Cameron Indoor Stadium since the 1994-95 season.
“I've been here in this same situation about four times, within a possession,” Brownell said. “I haven't won one yet. Tonight was as close as we got. We got to 1 second and had it taken from us.”
Clemson: The Tigers peaked at No. 13 in the AP Top 25 amid a 9-0 start, but they’ve lost momentum in January by losing five of seven. They were on the brink of a huge boost for their postseason resume, up 69-65 on Hall's two free throws at the 2:15 mark before multiple turnovers helped keep Duke alive.
Duke: The Blue Devils had a fight the whole way, including with Filipowski managing just nine points on 2-for-8 shooting. Duke won despite being beaten soundly on the glass (42-33) and being outscored 15-0 in second-chance points.
Freshman Jared McCain had 16 of his 21 points after halftime for Duke, while Proctor had 18 points. One of Filipowski's two baskets came on a spinning move in the lane for a three-point play and a 70-69 lead with 15.2 seconds left.
Hall had 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Tigers, including two free throws with 7.4 seconds left for the lead. Girard had all 13 of his points after halftime.
Clemson: The Tigers return home Tuesday to host Louisville.
Duke: The Blue Devils visit Virginia Tech on Monday.
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