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Notre Dame Basketball

Duke Pounds Notre Dame on Offensive Glass & Irish Drop Seventh Straight

February 7, 2024

Cameron Indoor isn’t friendly to visiting teams and for a young Notre Dame (7-16, 2-10) team, it’s not the ideal place to end a six-game losing streak. 

The Irish will leave Durham losing seven in a row in the ACC as Duke cruised 71-53 on Wednesday night in a game that was closer than it likely should have been. The Blue Devils held Notre Dame scoreless for over eight minutes to take a commanding 20-2 lead with 10:20 left in the opening half. 

Micah Shrewsberry’s squad did battle back to cut the lead to 22-13 and cut the lead to nine multiple times in the second half, but couldn't overcome Duke’s experience and overall talent.

“Credit to them,” stated Shrewsberry. “I thought our guys fought hard and continued to fight hard." 

Duke held the Irish scoreless for 5:27 in the second half to put the game away as the Blue Devils pushed the lead to 57-41. 

Freshman Markus Burton was his usual self as he scored 18 points and dished out four assists on the night. Classmate Braeden Shrewsberry was back in the starting lineup and finished with 13 points, including 3-for-8 from three. 

Duke was led by Mark Mitchell’s 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Caleb Foster added 13 points and two assists.  

Notre Dame’s defense travels, and once again, the Irish were able to hold Duke under its season average of 81.1 ppg. The Blue Devils shot just 4-for-18 from three and really didn’t have a true offensive flow for most of the game. 

Kebba Njie once again slowed down Duke All-American Kyle Filipowski, who will likely be glad he’s done facing the Nore Dame big man. Filipowski entered the game averaging 17.7 ppg and finished Wednesday’s game with eight points on 2-for-9 shooting. 

In two games this season, Filipowski is 4-for-21 from the field with just 15 points scored against Notre Dame. 

Shrewsberry was pleased with the effort on Filipowski and wasn’t forthcoming on how the Irish have slowed him down twice this season. 

"He's really good in the short roll,” explained Shrewsberry. “We have a game plan. I coach Notre Dame. I don't coach the rest of the ACC, so they can figure it out themselves." 

The Irish also did an adequate job in transition and bouncing back from turnovers. Notre Dame turned it over 15 times and only allowed nine points to be scored off those turnovers while scoring 12 points themselves off Duke’s nine turnovers. 

Shrewsberry has scored in double figures in seven of the last nine games and that’s something. In five of those games, the freshman guard has also taken more than 10 shots, which is a positive for the offense as at times, Notre Dame lacks aggression to score. 

The 6-foot-3, 190-pounder was 4-for-10 from the floor and while eight were from deep, Shrewsberry did make a runner and went baseline for a layup. The off the dribble game isn’t a strength, so if he can add a couple buckets here and there inside the arc, it’s only going to give him more confidence moving forward. 

Notre Dame has held its own on the boards for most of the season, but Duke won the glass 43-35, which included 16 offensive rebounds. On those offensive rebounds, the Blue Devils scored 21 second-change points compared to Notre Dame scoring just two second-chance points. That’s a losing recipe and Notre Dame found out the hard way against a team that could make them pay. 

"They were pretty tough on the glass - those two guys,” said Shrewsberry. “They do a good job. We're usually one of the best defensive-rebounding teams. They got 16 and three of those were team, so they got 13 offensive rebounds and I thought they hurt us there. They just beat us up on the glass at times. Sometimes we play a little smaller and we give up some things." 

It probably doesn’t deserve to be listed as a negative at this point in the year, but Notre Dame’s nine assists still point to its significant offensive issues. There were six players who recorded an assist, but Burton was the only one who had more than one. The lack of ball movement and ability to get anything in transition is a lot to put on this team given Burton is the only one who can consistently win off the dribble. 

Notre Dame finished 7-for-27 (26%) from behind the arc and that’s not going to get it done on the road at Duke. Burton and Shrewsberry shot 6-for-16 from three, while the rest of the team finished 1-for-11. Freshman Carey Booth was the only other Irish player to hit a trey and he ended the night just 1-for-5 from three. 

The scoring droughts are a concern. It’s a frequent occurrence, especially during the seven-game losing streak. Notre Dame continues to run its offense through iso-ball with Burton for large stretches, which is both positive and negative. Burton has shown he can handle the moment, but has also been turnover-prone at times this season. Yet, outside of Burton and Shrewsberry, Notre Dame lacks a player who wants to take over the game. 

Notre Dame Field Goals vs. Duke
Logan Imes: 0/4
Tae Davis: 1/4
Kebba Njie: 3/4
Carey Booth: 3/8 
JR Konieczny: 1/4
Matt Zona: 1/5

It’s clear there isn’t an answer and that’s concerning despite it being an issue all year. There hasn’t been development and that’s going to hurt on the road in the ACC. No team can go scoreless for over eight minutes and expect to win no matter how good the defense is. 

The Irish have to take advantage of the easy points and second opportunities as well. Duke outscored Notre Dame 38-20 in the paint, which can’t happen if you shoot 26 percent from three. 

Notre Dame will return home to host Virginia Tech (13-9, 5-6) on Saturday evening. Tip is set for 6:00 PM ET on The CW. 

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