Forget football: Clemson basketball upsets No. 3 Duke
What a wild ride the past few days have been for Clemson fans.
The Tigers beat No. 3 Duke 79-72 on Tuesday night to sandwich wins over the ACC’s basketball blue bloods around Monday’s loss in the College Football Playoff title game.
Tuesday night’s win over the Blue Devils was the highest-profile upset for the Tigers (9-7, 3-3 ACC) since they beat No. 1 North Carolina on their home court in February 2001. And just like that day, students rushed the court at Littlejohn Coliseum.
On Saturday, Clemson beat North Carolina in Chapel Hill for the first time in program history, ending a 59-game skid on the Tar Heels’ home court and setting off a locker-room celebration that looked like the aftermath of an NCAA Tournament win. The Tigers have won three in a row since falling below .500 in a Dec. 31 loss to Miami.
“2020 is starting to feel like our year,” said Aamir Simms, who led Clemson with a career-high 25 points.
The Blue Devils (15-2, 5-1 ) were leading the nation with an average margin of victory of 21.5 points. Duke had not lost since a stunning home decision to Stephen F. Austin in November.
Clemson fans, stung by the football Tigers’ first loss in 30 games — a 42-25 defeat against LSU on Monday night at the Superdome in New Orleans — stopped moping less than 24 hours later.
Simms and Tevin Mack, who scored 22 points, kept dragging Duke’s big men around the perimeter.
“We tried to move their guys around a lot. They have a lot of size,” Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said.
That opened up the lane for Clemson’s offense. Seventeen of the Tigers’ 30 baskets were layups or dunks — including one by John Newman III that was so nasty it got a shout-out on Twitter from Magic Johnson.
“Simms was spectacular tonight in how he controlled the game,” Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said.
Clemson led 40-33 at halftime and stretched the lead to nine points before Duke rallied. The Blue Devils led 62-59 with 6:40 remaining.
That’s when Clemson took control with a 14-3 run, including eight points from Simms. His three-point play made it 73-65 with 2:16 remaining.
Vernon Carey Jr. scored 20 points for Duke.
#6 Kansas 66, Oklahoma 52: Isaiah Moss scored 20 points, and Udoka Azubuike had 16 points and 14 rebounds as the visiting Jayhawks (13-3, 3-1 Big 12) took care of the Sooners (11-5, 2-2).
#7 San Diego State 64, Fresno State 55: Malachi Flynn scored 22 points as the visiting Aztecs (18-0, 7-0 Mountain West) remained unbeaten by knocking off the Bulldogs (5-12, 1-5).
#11 Louisville 73, Pittsburgh 68: Jordan Nwora had 14 points as the visiting Cardinals (14-3, 5-1 ACC) got past the Panthers (11-6, 2-4) in overtime.
#12 West Virginia 81, TCU 49: Derek Culver scored 17 points and the host Mountaineers (14-2, 3-1 Big 12) routed the Horned Frogs (12-4, 3-1).
#13 Dayton 79, VCU 65: Obi Toppin scored 24 points on a tender ankle as the host Flyers (15-2, 4-0 Atlantic 10) downed the Rams (12-5, 2-2).
#14 Villanova 79, DePaul 75: Collin Gillespie made four straight free throws in overtime and scored 21 points as the host Wildcats (13-3, 4-1 Big East) beat the Blue Demons (12-5, 0-4) for the 19th straight time.
Wisconsin 56, #17 Maryland 54: Brad Davison hit a 3-pointer with 11 seconds left after getting a steal, and the host Badgers (11-6, 4-2 Big Ten) edged the Terrapins (13-4, 3-3).
#21 Ohio State 80, Nebraska 68: C.J. Walker scored 18 points to help the host Buckeyes (12-5, 2-4 Big Ten) top the Cornhuskers (7-10, 2-4) and end a skid at four games.
#23 Texas Tech 77, Kansas St. 63: Kyler Edwards scored a career-high 24 points as the visiting Red Raiders (11-5, 2-2 Big 12) prevailed over the Wildcats (7-9, 0-4).
#4 UConn 68, Memphis 56: Crystal Dangerfield scored 24 and the visiting Huskies (14-1, 5-0 American Athletic) needed a late run to put away the Tigers (9-8, 0-4), who got 21 points and 10 rebounds from Dulcy Fankam Mendjiadeu.