CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) -- This wasn't J.J. Redick's typical game. But
then again, that's why the Duke star came back for his senior
Redick hit only two 3-pointers and missed four of 16 free
throws. Still, he finished with 34 points to lead the top-ranked
Blue Devils to their 19th straight win over Clemson, 87-77 on
"A lot of people come in if they see us play, expect me to hit
five or six 3s and be loud about it," Redick said. "But today we
found an efficient way to get the job done."
Shelden Williams added 17 points and 11 rebounds for Duke (16-0,
4-0 Atlantic Coast Conference). It's the Blue Devils' best start
since the 1992 NCAA champions opened 17-0. And after losses
Saturday by Georgia Tech and North Carolina, Duke is the ACC's only
Redick was a big reason why. Despite Clemson's perimeter defense
-- Duke took only nine 3-pointers -- Redick found a way to work
through screens and break out ahead for easy layups.
"I'm just a scorer," he says simply. "Every game that's my
role, so I just find ways to score."
Duke hasn't lost to the Tigers (13-4, 2-2) since Rick Barnes was
coaching them in 1997. But it took just about everything Redick had
to keep the streak going.
The Blue Devils let an 11-point lead slip to 76-71 after Akin
Akingbala's short jumper with 1:56 left.
But Redick dribbled up the court and found a wide-open Sean
Dockery for a layup and Clemson could not get any closer.
Redick's improved variety didn't happen overnight. He says when
he chose to return for one more year with the Blue Devils, he spent
the offseason working to be more than a long-range specialist and
dead-eye foul shooter.
"If you don't improve, it's your own fault. You have to put in
the work," Redick said. "This offseason I worked as hard as I
ever have in my life to improve my overall game."
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski says Redick's effort and what it
means to the team is apparent each game.
"I don't take him for granted," Krzyzewski said. "When you
have a special player, there's only so much you can teach him."
Redick, like many Duke players during the streak, has never lost
to Clemson. He single-handedly kept the Blue Devils in this one in
the first half with 17 points.
Redick's first 3-pointer put Duke ahead 16-12. Two minutes
later, he made two free throws for a 20-18. And, after Clemson
rallied to go up 31-30, Redick hit another long-range shot and a
layup to put Duke ahead once again.
Redick's two free throws stretched Duke's lead to 57-46 with
15:03 remaining. The Tigers used a 14-7 run over the next 5 minutes
to get within 64-60.
Redick, though, was there to answer. He scored six of Duke's
next eight points to restore the comfortable lead.
Williams started the run with a slam, then Redick hit two free
throws. He drove the right baseline for a basket on Duke's next
possession and finished the spurt with a layup.
Williams followed up a triple-double in his last game against
Maryland (19 points, 11 rebounds and 10 blocks) with his eighth
game in double figure points and rebounds.
The way Duke handled Clemson's charge will serve it well the
rest of the season, Williams said.
"They were probably the only team that played us tough the
whole course of the game, for 40 minutes they weren't backing
down," Williams said. "That was one of the things we haven't
gotten a chance to be exposed to."
Vernon Hamilton, who led Clemson with a career-high 31 points,
was disappointed with the loss, but "it lets us know that we're
capable of playing with anybody in the country," he said.
Hos previous best was 21 points last Wednesday in a 74-73
overtime win against Wake Forest.
The Tigers had ended a five-game losing streak to the Demon
Deacons in that one and hoped to put aside their much-longer string
of futility against the Blue Devils.
Instead, Redick and his teammates made sure Duke's mastery
lasted a bit longer.
Redick was just 3-of-6 from the line -- including missing two on
one trip -- in the first half. He finished 12-of-16 from the line,
the first time he had more than two misses in a game this season.