Tigers' Devin Booker playing like he's made up his mind to dominate in ACC

Senior big man has 13 points, 15 rebounds against Duke, following up on 19-point, 11-rebound game against FSU

Duke's Mason Plumlee, left, guards Clemson's Devin Booker during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C., Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

Photo by Gerry Broome

Duke's Mason Plumlee, left, guards Clemson's Devin Booker during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C., Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

Bright spots were few and far between in Clemson's 28-point loss to Duke Tuesday night, but one was easy to find.

Devin Booker is playing as if he's made up his mind to be a dominant force in the ACC.

Booker went head-to-head with Duke's Mason Plumlee, and both outscored and outrebounded the Blue Devil star. He scored 12 points - six in each half - and pulled down 15 rebounds. Plumlee had eight points and 13 boards.

"I thought Devin did a great job," said Clemson coach Brad Brownell. "We didn't give him much help defensively. It was just two good players going at it. It was really physical down there, and the officials let 'em play, and that was good. For both guys, they baskets they made, they earned. Both are physical rebounders and don't give an inch. I'm proud of the way Devin competed tonight."

Booker, who was coming off a 19-point, 11-rebound performance against Florida State, has now scored in double figures in five of his last six games. With his 15 rebounds on Tuesday, he moved past David Angel into 20th place on Clemson's all-time list.

Blue Devils Just Keep Coming: Brad Brownell said Tuesday that one of the most difficult things about playing Duke is that someone is always there to give a needed step-up performance.

Tuesday, it was Quinn Cook's turn to carry the load, as he scored a career-best 27 points.

"The reason Duke is so good and so hard to play against is that they just have so many weapons," Brownell said. "Ryan Kelly didn't play in the second half, and they still found ways. Quinn Cook was like a first-team all-league player tonight. He was incredible - making tough shots, getting it into the paint, defending. Five assists and one turnover.

"We did a reasonably good job on (Seth) Curry and a reasonably good job on Plumlee. The problem is you just keep going. Cook scored 27, and he hadn't had many 20-point games. But the fact that they players who can do that when they need it just makes it really hard."

Elmore Gives Harsh Assessment Of Jennings: Long-time ACC basketball broadcast analyst Len Elmore delivered an unflinching critique of Milton Jennings' career on-air Tuesday night.

Elmore said that Jennings - the only McDonald's All-American on Clemson's roster - came into college basketball with "expectations that were far too great."

"We just have to accept the fact, and Clemson fans have done this, that he is who he is," Elmore said. "The expectations are gone, and at the end of this year, so will Milton Jennings."

Jennings was held scoreless until the final minutes of the game on Tuesday, and finished 2-of-7 from the field.

Virginia Next Up: Clemson will play at home on Saturday at noon against Virginia in the Tigers' next game, and then will be back at Littlejohn Colseum on Tuesday, Jan. 15, for a 7 p.m. game against Wake Forest.

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Comments » 1

mistaronaldgt#222921 writes:

They didn't seemed focused and cohesive as a team last night--almost like they planned on losing. This squad needs to do more unity-building exercises like visit elementary schools in poor school districts or feeding the homeless...or even volunteering with Habitat for Humanity. I also believe at this point that the jury has spoken for Milton Jennings. He is more of a distraction for this program than anything else.

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