Clemson Tigers

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Clemson knocks off No. 3 Duke

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First, Clemson wins its first-ever game in Chapel Hill. Now, just a couple days later, they’ve got a win against the state of North Carolina’s other monster program, Duke.

The Tigers defeated third-ranked Duke, 79-72, at home Tuesday night to deliver one heck of a follow-up to Saturday’s win against North Carolina.

Clemson shot 56.6 percent from the floor and 42.9 percent from 3-point range. Aamir Simms scored 25 points and added nine rebounds while Tevin Mack had 22 points and nine rebounds.

This dup of wins for Brad Brownell, whose program has gone to just two NCAA tournaments (albeit a Sweet 16 appearance in 2018) in his nine season. The North Carolina win doesn’t do a lot for an NCAA tournament resume, but flipping it forward to a win against Duke certainly does. Still, a non-conference slate whose highlight was an overtime win on a neutral floor against TCU means the Tigers have a lot of work to do, though the last two weeks is a nice start and there are Quad I wins to be had in the ACC.

Duke, which was just dubbed as the sport’s lone elite team by our Rob Dauster, saw its nine-game winning streak snapped with just its second setback of the season, with the first being the wild Stephen F. Austin defeat in November. The Blue Devils had mostly steamrolled their way through their first five ACC opponents, but fell behind early to Clemson and were unable to wrangle back the lead and some separation the rest of the night.

The Blue Devils shot 50 percent from the floor for the game (53.6 percent in the second half) while getting 17 points, five rebounds and four assists from Tre Jones and another 20 points and seven rebounds from Vernon Carey, but it wasn’t enough to hold off the upset-minded Tigers. Despite the loss to a Clemson team that has been largely mediocre this season, there’s probably little to take from this game to worry about going forward for the Blue Devils. Clemson got hot from 3, and Duke’s turnover issue negated its own hot-shooting. If anything, it’s those giveaways that Duke really needs to clean up in its pursuit for the No. 1 overall seed.

The loss also steals a little bit of luster from Duke’s Saturday showdown with No. 11 Louisville.

POSTERIZED: Clemson’s John Newman III drops hammer on Duke

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Sure, Clemson winning at North Carolina for the first time ever, stopping a 59-game losing streak, was something.

But lighting the Internet on fire with a monster dunks, too, is something.

John Newman III is making history out here.

The Clemson 6-foot-5 sophomore absolutely unloaded on Duke and Javin DeLaurier on Tuesday night with a hammer.

Maybe Clemson gets the North Carolina-Duke back-to-back. Either way, Newman has this.

Ten Things to Know: Long road losing streaks end during wild day of college hoops

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College basketball was all about big road wins.

The Big 12 and ACC saw two huge road losing streaks end. The rest of the day saw some upsets along with an injury to keep tabs on.

BAYLOR GOT ITS FIRST-EVER WIN IN PHOG ALLEN FIELDHOUSE

Everything you need to know about the biggest game of the day can be found right here.

CLEMSON GOT ITS FIRST-EVER WIN (IN 60 TRIES!) IN CHAPEL HILL

Clemson basketball kicked off a big sports weekend for the school. The Tigers snapped their 0-59 mark in Chapel Hill with a 79-76 double-overtime win over North Carolina.

Brad Brownell’s team celebrated in euphoric fashion.

This isn’t your typical ACC road win. It was one of the premier streaks in college basketball. Clemson and North Carolina first played men’s basketball during the 1925-26 season. Both programs are founding members of the ACC.

Same conference.

Since 1953.

So for the Tigers to FINALLY earn a win in Chapel Hill, even if North Carolina happens to be down right now, is a monumental accomplishment.

For North Carolina, the recent freefall continues. The Tar Heels have lost three straight and dropped to 1-4 in ACC play. Following the loss, North Carolina head coach Roy Williams made some emotional remarks blaming himself.

Even though North Carolina is well outside of the top 25, they remain one of the most compelling teams in college hoops.

WEST VIRGINIA SHUTS DOWN TEXAS TECH

Things weren’t particularly pretty in Morgantown on Saturday night. Using seemingly its whole roster to wear down the Red Raiders, West Virginia earned an impressive Big 12 home win.

Despite only making three shots from three-point range on the night, West Virginia held a comfortable advantage thanks to one of the nation’s best defenses. The Mountaineers held Texas Tech to 28 percent shooting. The Red Raiders simply had no answer for the swarm of West Virginia defenders.

While West Virginia has continued to climb up the national rankings with an underrated array of quad one wins, this is one of the program’s best wins this season. The Mountaineers are surely a contender in the Big 12. The major question becomes if they are more than just a conference title contender. And more of a potential national title contender.

NICK RICHARDS IS THE KEY TO KENTUCKY’S SEASON

Over the course of the last four games, No. 14 Kentucky has asserted themselves as one of the best teams in college basketball once again. They’ve knocked off Louisville, Missouri, Georgia and Alabama during that run, and it should come as no coincidence that the best stretch of Kentucky’s season has come at the same time that Nick Richards has played the best basketball of his career.

In those four games, Richards is averaging 16.0 points, 10.0 boards and 2.5 blocks, but more importantly, he’s staying on the floor for more than 29 minutes per game. He’s starting to figure things out, and that, in turn, has helped build his confidence, his belief in himself.

“You can’t coach a kid’s confidence,” a source close to Kentucky said. “He needs to build it himself.”

He’s posting harder, he’s demanding the ball, he’s doing all of the things that Kentucky has been waiting for him to two do two-and-a-half years. And it hasn’t only helped Richards, the guards that feed him the rock have confidence in him as well. If you’re a point guard and you know Richards doesn’t want the ball, are you going to give him a post touch? Are you going to throw a post entry when you don’t think anything good will happen?

Saturday proved my point.

In the first half against Alabama, Richards had 11 points, six boards and four blocks, and Kentucky went into the break with a 45-35 lead. He finished with just two points in the second half, and Alabama cut the lead to one in the final two minutes.

OHIO STATE HAS NOW LOST FOUR STRAIGHT GAMES

The 12th-ranked Buckeyes dropped to 11-5 on the season and 1-4 in the Big Ten after losing their fourth straight game on Saturday, 66-54, to Indiana.

During that four game losing streak, Ohio State has shot 28-for-97 from three, a cool 28.9 percent. Prior to the start of this losing streak, after they beat Kentucky in Las Vegas and when they were sitting at No. 1 in KenPom and splitting votes with Gonzaga for No. 1 in the AP poll, the Buckeyes were shooting 41.5 percent from three as a team.

The reason why they are struggling from beyond the arc is a bigger question. Part of it is just regression — water eventually finds itself — and part of it is that as D.J. Carton has struggled, who had seven turnovers on Saturday, Ohio State’s offense has struggled. They don’t have the individual playmakers to create offense for themselves, and if Carton (and C.J. Walker) are struggling to create easy shots for their teammates, Ohio State becomes really limited offensively.

Oh, and should I mention that Ohio State’s second-leading scorer, Duane Washington, didn’t take a single shot and was benched for the final 30 minutes. He’s either hurt or Chris Holtmann is fed up with his defensive lapses.

Either way, what was clicking for the first month of the season is clearly no longer working.

AUBURN AND SAN DIEGO STATE ARE STILL UNDEFEATED

The No. 5 Tigers cruised past Georgia at home, winning 82-60, while the No. 7 Aztecs took care of business against Boise State at home, 83-65.

Auburn’s biggest tests of the season to date will come next week, as they travel to take on Alabama and Florida. SDSU heads to Fresno State on Tuesday and then will host Nevada next weekend.

OBI TOPPIN ROLLED HIS ANKLE

The star big man for No. 15 Dayton stepped on someone’s foot early in the second half of an 88-60 win over UMass and had to leave the game. He ended up leaving the game and returning to his team’s bench with a boot on his left foot.

Toppin told reporters after the game that, “it’s good.” Head coach Anthony Grant, speaking in his press conference after the game, said that he thought it was a sprained ankle and that the team would know more in the next 24 hours, but he did not sound overly concerned.

VIRGINIA DROPS SECOND STRAIGHT TO UNRANKED OPPONENT

It’s looking like defending national champion Virginia will fall out of the top 25 next week. A second consecutive loss to an unranked team on Saturday likely sealed the Cavaliers’ new fate.

After falling on the road at Boston College last game, Virginia fell to Syracuse at home.  The Orange earned an unlikely overtime win while also avenging its season-opening home loss to the ‘Hoos.

Hitting some massive three-pointers once overtime started, the Orange played completely free and with a lot of confidence once the extra session started. It also pointed to a continuing glaring issue Virginia has faced. Who is this team’s go-to player when they need a bucket?

Things don’t get easier for Virginia when they head on the road to Florida State next game. With three of their next four coming on the road, the Cavaliers have some work to do to stay with the ACC’s best.

GONZAGA AND DUKE CRUISE TO VICTORY

Easy day for No. 1 and No. 2 on Saturday.

Gonzaga made quick work of Loyola Marymount. The Bulldogs won by 25 on the road.

In the ACC, Duke ran past Wake Forest. The Blue Devils were fueled by Tre Jones in a 31-point victory.

MYLES POWELL, SETON HALL OUTDUEL MARKUS HOWARD, MARQUETTE

CBT’s Preseason All-America Team featured Myles Powell and Markus Howard both on the first team.

So Saturday’s Big East clash between Seton Hall and Marquette was must-see TV. Both stars finished an identical 8-for-22 from the field as Howard dropped 27 points and Powell delivered 23 points.

Most importantly, however, was the Pirates claiming the 69-55 Big East win. Seton Hall has six straight wins since Powell returned to the lineup from a concussion. Saturday’s win gives the Pirates a leg up on the rest of the league and Powell a leg up on Howard with one matchup to go.

Not many people seem to be talking about Seton Hall. That’s a mistake. This team is playing really well over the last several weeks and look like the possible team to beat in the Big East.

Clemson lands coveted graduate transfer Tevin Mack

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Clemson landed a commitment from a coveted graduate transfer as guard Tevin Mack pledged to the Tigers on Monday night.

A former double-figure scorer at Texas before transferring and playing for Alabama last season, Mack is a proven college scorer who should be able to play right away at Clemson. Mack put up 9.0 points and 3.3 rebounds per game while shooting 41 percent from the field and 33 percent from three-point range. Sophomore season in 2016-17 was a breakout campaign in 15 appearances for Mack as he averaged 14.8 points and shot 39 percent from three-point range before missing the rest of the season after being suspended at Texas.

Mack sat out the 2017-18 season and is previously a four-star prospect in the Class of 2015. A native of South Carolina, Mack will be returning to his home state for his final season of college ball as he should have an opportunity to earn instant minutes for the Tigers.

Tulsa graduate transfer Curran Scott headed to Clemson

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After two seasons at Tulsa, Curran Scott is going to Clemson.

The 6-foot-4 guard is joining the Tigers as a graduate transfer, he announced Monday.

“Thank you to my family and friends for supporting me throughout this process,” Scott wrote on social media. “I would also like to thank the coaches who recruited me as well. I have committed to Clemson University to play for (Brad Brownell) and his staff, Go Tigers!”

Scott, who began his career at Charlotte, averaged 8.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game last season for the Golden Hurricane. He shot 39.4 percent from 3-point range, and will be joining a Clemson team that lost two of its three top scorers from lat year’s 20-14 NIT team.

Recruitments of Zion Williamson, Marvin Bagley discussed on wiretaps as federal trial continues

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Wednesday’s proceedings in a courtroom of the Southern District of New York brought Sean Miller, Rick Pitino, LSU, Michigan State and Deandre Ayton into discussion. Thursday added Zion Williamson, USC, TCU and Marvin Bagley, among others, into focus as the second trial of the federal government’s investigation into corruption in college basketball continued

“Nike schools pay, too,” video wiretap catches former adidas and Nike employee Merl Code saying, according to CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander. “In some form or fashion, Duke, North Carolina, Syracuse, Kentucky and all of those schools are doing something to help their kids.”

It was another embarrassing day for the sport, whose underbelly continues to exposed for what it was so long thought to have been – dirty – with each passing day.

“It’s a mess,” Code said on a wiretap, “because there’s so much money involved.”

Williamson, the presumptive No. 1 pick in June’s draft and college basketball’s biggest star after his stellar freshman season at Duke, was the topic of discussion on a wiretap between Clemson assistant Steve Smith with Christian Dawkins and Marty Blazer, both of whom have been at the center of the government’s case, and an undercover FBI agent, according to Norlander.

“Duke is gonna have their resources. UNC is UNC. Kentucky is gonna have their resources,” Dawkins said on the recording. Blazer testified he understood Dawkins’ comments to be in reference to Williamson’s family receiving money to attend those schools.

Another former Blue Devil, Bagley, also was at the center of testimony Thursday. The government showed video of a Las Vegas suite in 2017 in which assistants Tony Bland of USC, Preston Murphy of Creighton and Corey Barker of TCU were shown accepting cash. Bland discussed his efforts to bring Bagley to USC in the video, according to Norlander.

“Tony (Bland) needed money to get to Marvin (Bagley),” Blazer, a cooperating government witness, testified. “Tony was confident he had Marvin Bagley locked in at USC. When Marvin Bagley signs with USC, I need you guys on campus the moment he signs, be ready to get it to him ASAP.”

Bagley ultimately reclassified to the 2017 class and signed with Duke before going on to be the No. 2 pick in last year’s NBA draft.

While there may have been no shocking revelations in testimony Thursday, it was yet another day spent in which college basketball insiders exposed how the game outside the game is seemingly played by many. Who knows how much more we’ll learn tomorrow. Or any subsequent day.