CLEMSON, South Carolina (Ticker) -- Clemson spent $31 million to renovate Littlejohn Coliseum. On the court, however, the Tigers need a further upgrade to be on the same level with Duke.
The top-ranked Blue Devils spoiled Clemson's return to Littlejohn, pulling away in the second half for an 89-71 victory in the Atlantic Coast Conference opener for both teams.
Freshman J.J. Redick scored 22 points for the Blue Devils (9-0, 1-0 ACC), who posted their 14th straight win over the Tigers. Dahntay Jones and Daniel scored 19 and 17, respectively, for Duke.
The contest matched two of the four remaining unbeaten teams in Division I, but the Blue Devils had too much firepower for Clemson (9-1, 0-1). The other unbeatens are Wake Forest and Connecticut.
"It didn't feel like it was an 18-point game," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "It was a tough game. We hit all of our free throws down the stretch, and they just couldn't break that 10-point lead."
Jones, who was inserted into the starting lineup, capped a 10-2 spurt with a 3-pointer that gave the Blue Devils a 48-38 halftime lead. Duke increased its lead to 65-47 on Daniel Ewing's 3-pointer with 11:55 left.
"It was a pretty good war," said Clemson coach Larry Shyatt, who dropped to 0-10 against Duke. "We found that Duke has been the most physical team in the league during the last five or six years. It was toe-to-toe at 38-36, but a couple bad possessions turned the game into a 10-point lead at halftime."
The teams combined for 54 fouls in a physical game that also included five technicals. The Blue Devils led by as many 19 points in the final minutes.
"It was a clean, hard game," Krzyzewski said. "You put all those big bodies in that small area (in the paint), there's not that much room. The coaches, players and officials in the conference have to get ready for clean, hard games like this year."
Edward Scott scored 28 points and Thomas Nagys chipped in with 11 to keep Clemson close.
"When we were down by 10, we acted as if we were trailing by 20," Shyatt said. "We have to close out on defense better, and guard the ball more effectively. I liked the way we attacked the basket on offense to the very end."
Duke shot 52 percent from the field (27-of-52), including 11-of-21 from 3-point range. Clemson shot just 41 percent (24-of-58) and made only 1-of-11 from beyond the arc. Redick was 4-of-10 from 3-point range and Jones 3-of-5.
"We held our own in this game," Krzyzewski said. "Our perimeter play was really good, and Ewing off the bench was incredible. We had to play good basketball because Scott is such a good player and Clemson is a good basketball team."
While their 35-year-old campus facility was being renovated, the Tigers played their first eight home games in Anderson, South Carolina. Despite the inconvenience, the Tigers are off to their best start since the 1995-96 season, when they won their first 11 games.
Duke played its first true road game of the season. The Blue Devils played only one of their first eight games outside North Carolina, an 84-73 victory over UCLA in Indianapolis on November 30.
The Tigers took their final lead, 22-20, on Scott's jumper with 10:06 left in the first half. Duke the lead for good, 25-24, on Redick's 3-pointer with 8:53 to go in the half.