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Notre Dame Basketball

Bedeviled Again: Duke Rolls Irish

February 15, 2020

For 20 minutes, Notre Dame lurked in the shadows of Cameron Indoor Stadium --- loosely within striking distance of regal host Duke.

The seventh-ranked Blue Devils pulled back the curtain Saturday afternoon in a blistering second-half offensive outburst.

As they hit 10 of their first 19 3-point attempts, dominated the glass and suffocated the Fighting Irish with a 52-32 interior scoring edge, the Blue Devils led by 20 points barely five minutes into the second half and by 30 just moments later in a resounding, 94-60 throttling of Notre Dame (15-10, 6-8 ACC).

“We were dead at 15 minutes left in the game,” Irish coach Mike Brey said. “I was trying to see if we could go running time. Could we just go running clock? Because we play Monday night. We’re going to take our medicine and let’s get out of here. ”

Vernon Carey Jr. spurred a 10-point halftime edge for Duke (22-3, 12-2 ACC), which hit seven second-half triples and scored 52 second-half points in the 34-point win --- the Blue Devils’ fifth league win by 30 or more points this season.

Carey’s team-best 21 points was matched by Notre Dame’s Juwan Durham, who established a new career-high with his 21-point effort. John Mooney added 19 points and nine boards for Notre Dame, which didn’t get more than six points from any other player and pulled its starters with several minutes to play as a showdown loomed Monday night back at home against North Carolina.

“I’m really pleased, I thought Durham really played well and battled,” Brey said. “Johnny is Johnny. But we couldn’t get anything going from our guards, and I think it was their ball pressure.”

Four days after mustering just 49 points in 45 minutes in an overtime-loss at defending national champion Virginia, Notre Dame’s offensive woes against persisted. The Irish are just 6-for-35 from 3-point range in their last three halves and the five-minute overtime stanza.

“They kept a number of bodies, fresh guys on you, where they’re pressuring you,” Brey said. “God, we only made five … we have to make 10 3s for us to win league games. I don’t even know if we had 10 great, clean looks. Even the looks we got were rushed because of their speed and close-out stuff.”

Durham and Mooney kept the Irish within striking distance throughout the opening half. Despite being limited to just 10 minutes on the floor due to a pair of quick fouls, Durham hit all five of his field goal attempts and closed the frame with 13 points --- just three of his Notre Dame career-best output.

Mooney led the Irish with 14 points and seven boards at the break, consistently slipping to the rim on give-and-go cuts for a series of layups. Mooney also twice tipped in errant shots for offensive putbacks.

The deeper, faster, more talented Blue Devils handed Notre Dame its worst loss of the season --- all without Cassius Stanley, the team’s No. 3 scorer at more than 12 points per game.

Notre Dame returns to Purcell Pavilion Monday night at 7 against North Carolina, which defeated the Irish 76-65 to open the 2019-20 season. ESPN has the telecast.

Irish Shift Focus to UNC

Irish Sports Daily
Final Box Score (Click to expand)


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