CLEMSON - For safety's sake, Littlejohn Coliseum should be checked for noise damage.

Someone phone Durham.

Is Coack K OK?

C'mon, admit that would you have taken the Blue Devils and 26 points a day ago.

Clemson's 2008 Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament victory over Duke was no fluke. But for those unconvinced, Oliver Purnell's orange sport coat and suffocating Tigers shined bright from start to finish Wednesday night.

Now more than just a Sweet 16 contender, No. 10 Clemson put on one of the most impressive ACC regular season performances in program history, thoroughly thrashing No. 4 Duke, 74-47.

"They just kicked our butts," Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "They just out-competed us."

Yeah, and when Jerai Grant threw a fastbreak dunk over fallen Blue Devils point guard Greg Paulus to give Clemson a 48-28 lead and with Tanner Smith clapping in Paulus' face while defending at the other end, you almost had to feel sorry for Duke.


"To beat Duke by 27 points like that," junior forward David Potter said, smiling in disbelief. "Man, it's crazy."

Football Signing Day at Clemson was overshadowed by basketball Player Development Night.

For one, more basketball Tigers were in uniform (15) than football players signed (12).

Player development

"Did I expect this? No. But we played Clemson basketball," junior forward Trevor Booker said. "It just showed what we can do when we play Clemson basketball."

At 19-2, Clemson's 'worst' loss was at home to No. 7 Wake Forest (trumping the one at No. 3 North Carolina).

There were player development triumphs were all over the court, tributes to guys not considered blue-chippers upon arrival but enjoying life among ACC elite after so many hours of hard work, bonding and pressing. Always pressing.

K.C. Rivers sliced in front of Kyle Singler, Duke's leading scorer, and stole the ball to start a fruitful fastbreak. The senior swingman personifies persistent work ethic. Rivers didn't become a full-time starter until the final 10 games of his sophomore season but already is Clemson's winningest player, 87 victories and counting.

Booker. Looks more like a football signee. Sent Littlejohn into a frenzy with a monster jam to give the Tigers a 19-15 lead and send a message.

Terrence Oglesby. A 3-pointer, a steal, another 3. Ho-hum. A summer spent training with former Georgia Tech and NBA star Mark Price in Atlanta and playing with a Norwegian national team in Europe did wonders for Norway-born, Tennessee-bred 'T.O.' No longer just a long-range bomber, Oglesby is a more well-rounded player as a sophomore.

Still pressing

Raymond Sykes is one of the ACC's most improved players.

Grant's consistency, Potter's toughness, Demontez Stitt's passing, freshmen Smith and Andre Young making strides ...

Of course, the patient Purnell approach is the key, and stability within a superb coaching staff a close second. Ron Bradley and Frank Smith started with Purnell at Clemson six seasons ago.

Accountability is part of progress, too, and so Oglesby after missing a 3 launched from Table Rock State Park immediately was benched for a few minutes in the first half. He took a seat and got a short lecture from Bradley.

Oglesby also missed a wide-open dunk in the final minutes, and wasn't happy about it. Note that Purnell did not empty his bench, another part of the wall-to-wall onslaught.

The head coach took it all in on the way on and off the floor.

"I want to smell those roses," Purnell said. "We've been working at it and I want to smell it."