The Blue Devils, down by one, had the ball with 7.4 seconds to play when Tyrese Proctor drove down the court and drew a foul. He hit both free throws to give Duke a one-point lead with one second to play. Girard threw a full-court pass to Clemson star PJ Hall, who appeared to collide with Duke’s Mark Mitchell before he fumbled the ball, which sealed the win for the Blue Devils.
Tigers coach Brad Brownell exchanged words with an official after that no-call and then Girard ran toward an official as the crew was being escorted off the court before a Clemson staffer, along with Brownell, grabbed him and pulled him back. After the game, Brownell said the officiating shifted the outcome.
Clemson hasn’t defeated Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium since 1995.
“I think we’ve had some history with that official,” Brownell said. “There was a lot of emotion from our bench because we’re a passionate group that fought their tails off and feel like the game was maybe taken from us a little bit. It shouldn’t be decided like that.”
Brownell did not specify which official he was referencing. Clemson had 20 fouls and Duke had 17 fouls in the game.
Duke coach Jon Scheyer said he was proud of his team for the way it finished the game. Proctor (18 points) extended a four-game hot streak and freshman Jared McCain (21 points) showcased his full potential in the win, he said. Both players executed after Kyle Filipowski (2-for-8), who’d struggled throughout the contest, picked up his fifth foul late.
The officiating? Scheyer said it was a physical game for both teams.
“For me, I can go through the whole game and talk about the different plays of them pushing us in the back when we’re blocking out,” Scheyer said. “I can go down the whole game. All I know is Tyrese Proctor made a heckuva play at the end to drive it to the basket and he gets fouled, shooting two free throws. He should be celebrated for that.
“I’m not going to go through — every game that we play — the officials after a game, what they called and what they didn’t call. All I know is I’m proud of my team, man. For finding a way to win and playing through contact. I think there was a lot of contact both ways.”
Duke is now 10-1 in its past 11 games, a week before it faces rival North Carolina in Chapel Hill.
Clemson last defeated Duke on the road on Jan. 4, 1995, in a 75-70 victory. That game was significant because it was Mike Krzyzewski’s final game of the season. Complications following back surgery ended his year 12 games into the season. Assistant Pete Gaudet coached the rest of the 1994-95 campaign.
Brownell has been coach for a multitude of Duke’s losses at Cameron Indoor Stadium over the past 30 years. After the game, he noted a two-point loss at Duke two years ago that felt similar to Saturday’s outcome.
“I do think there were times when our guys were getting hit and it didn’t seem the same [with the foul calls],” Brownell said. “We lost by two the last time I was here and we had the lead with two minutes to go. I’ve been here, in this same situation, about four times, within a possession, and I haven’t won one yet. Tonight was as close as we got. We got to one second and had it taken from us.”