CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — When Clemson coach Brad Brownell was piecing together his roster last offseason, he felt he needed one more experienced player who could shine with a game on the line.
Enter Brevin Galloway, the Boston College transfer who delivered in big way Saturday to keep the Tigers perfect in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Galloway scored 17 points, including the 3-pointer that put Clemson up for good, in a 72-64 win over No. 24 Duke.
“He played great,” Brownell said, “and played great on a very big stage.”
It’s why Galloway, a 6-foot-3 guard, came to Clemson.
“I was so emotional out there, just realizing what was going on,” said Galloway, from nearby Anderson. “To go out there and perform the way I did tonight on that stage was great for me.”
PJ Hall scored 26 points to lead the Tigers (15-3), who are off to their best start in the Atlantic Coast Conference at 7-0.
The Tigers beat the Blue Devils (13-5, 4-3) for just the second time in nine games.
Duke got within 58-57 on Kyle Filipowski’s foul shot with less than four minutes left. The Blue Devils managed only free throws the rest of the way.
Fans flooded the court after the final buzzer, celebrating Clemson’s unexpected success.
“That was a crazy moment, a surreal moment for me,” Galloway said.
Filipowski, a 7-foot freshman, led Duke with 18 points and 14 rebounds before fouling out in the final minute. Fellow freshman Tyrese Proctor had 17 points for the Blue Devils.
First-year coach Jon Scheyer was disappointed with the loss, but said with a week between games, he’ll work on teaching his young team how to finish tight games like this.
“It’s a new experience,” he said. “But that’s not good enough for us.”
This was a win that’s not come often enough for some Clemson supporters. Brownell, however, said his team’s tight bond has kept them working through the ups and downs earlier this season.
Hall is happy for this run and even happier for Brownell. “He’s taken punches year after year,” Clemson’s 6-10 junior said.
Lines were long waiting to get in for Clemson’s biggest home game in several seasons. University President Jim Barker was in the mix with fans, posing for pictures in his orange “Grit Lives Here” T-shirt that was on seats at Littlejohn Coliseum.
The biggest pregame cheer came when football coach Dabo Swinney walked in alongside Tigers new offensive coordinator Garrett Riley. And Riley got another ovation in the second half when he came out on the court and was introduced to the crowd.
Hall was certainly ready for the moment, scoring 13 of his team’s first 20 points as the Tigers led 20-15.
But the Blue Devils came back with a boost from Proctor, who fueled a 15-2 run that put them ahead.
Proctor had three-point play and a 3-pointer to give Duke its first lead with less than five minutes left in the half. Proctor kept things going with a second three and a nifty pass to fellow freshman Dereck Lively II for an uncontested jam.
While Hall was on target as he made seven of 12 shots the first 20 minutes, the rest of the Tigers’ roster was cold with just five field goals.
Clemson, which came in leading the ACC in 3-point shooting, hit just two of its 11 attempts from behind the arc in the opening half. The Tigers hit only one from long distance in the second half, but that was Galloway’s critical shot.
Duke: The Blue Devils certainly have the talent with freshman like Filipowski, Proctor and Lively. There’s still plenty of time for first-year coach Jon Scheyer to round them into a formidable postseason team.
Clemson: Count on the Tigers to crack the Top 25 for the first time this season. Clemson showed having veterans can be an advantage against a team with young players like Duke not accustomed to the game-by-game rigors of the ACC.
Clemson coach Brad Brownell won the 400th game in his career at UNC Wilmington, Wright State and with the Tigers. He was already Clemson’s winningest coach and sits with 233 victories in 13 seasons with the Tigers.
Duke: Returns home to face No. 16 Miami on Jan. 21.
Clemson: Heads to Wake Forest on Tuesday night.
AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25