Duke finished the January portion of its schedule with a decisive 83-61 win over Notre Dame Monday night. The win runs Duke’s record to 18-2, 7-1 in the ACC.
Duke checked almost all the boxes.
Slow start? Duke jumped on the Irish early, a 12-2 lead prompting Mike Brey to call a timeout before the first media timeout.
“We hit them hard to begin -- not because they didn’t play well but we just hit everything,” Mike Krzyzewski said.
“We haven’t been able to score early.” Mike Brey admitted. “That’s a deep hole.”
The margin never again got closer than nine, at 32-23, Notre Dame’s comeback hopes squashed when Williamson buried a three.
Try 10-for-19. Tre Jones and Cam Reddish sparked Duke to a 6-0 lead with bombs in the opening 70 seconds, opening the floor up for Zion Williamson to destroy the Notre Dame interior.
Duke had more rebounds, more blocks, more steals and an equal number of turnovers. Foul shooting was a modest 9-for-16, with Williamson accounting for four of the misses.
And is anybody still kvetching about Duke not playing a true road game? Duke is 4-0 in ACC road games.
I admit it is a bit disquieting to see Mike Brey’s Irish struggling so much. They do have some injury issues. But the loss to Duke drops them to 1-7 in the ACC, 11-10 overall.
They certainly didn’t have an answer for Williamson, as if anyone does. Williamson augmented that early 6-0 lead by scoring Duke’s next eight points in a span of less than three minutes.
He ended the first half with 15 points.
It was 46-28 at that point.
Notre Dame played the second half with energy and enthusiasm but so did Duke and the Irish never really made much of a dent in the Duke lead, which stayed in the 20-point range. The biggest margin was 24, at 73-49.
Williamson ended the game with 26 points, nine rebounds, four assists and four blocks. He hit 10-of 12 from the field, bringing him to 171-for-251 for the season. That’s 68.1 percent, slightly better than Duke’s foul-shooting percentage of 67.9 percent.
Williamson has scored 22 or more points in five consecutive games.
Barrett added 17 points and nine rebounds.
Getting 43 points from Williamson and Barrett isn’t unusual. In fact, that’s just below their season average. But Reddish became that much-needed third scorer, a role he has played before this season but not with complete consistency. Reddish scored 13 points, hitting 3-of-8 from beyond the arc.
Brey was realistic about his team’s scoring woes.
“They are really gifted. With Duke’s pressure and switching, it was almost impossible to make a pass. You can say move the ball, but that’s not realistic. Their switching and their length are in the passing lanes, so when you get to ball screening, somebody has got to drive and kick.”
This was Duke’s second and final two-games-in-three-days trap and Krzyzewski seems glad to be done with it.
“The two games in three days, the travel, you never know what’s going to happen and our guys really handled tonight well and I am proud of them … now we get a day off. With the scheduling the way it is in college basketball, a lot of times you do not get a Sunday off and that can take its toll and we won’t have one next week either. Even though we will give them off tomorrow we won’t get back – hopefully we will get back safe – to go to school tomorrow so it is not really getting away, so especially with a young group we are trying to take that into consideration and make sure that we stay fresh but our guys did a good job tonight.”
Tre Jones had nine points, five assists and two steals, Marques Bolden eight points, seven rebounds and two blocks, mostly in the first half. The complementary players complemented, Jack White grabbing six rebounds, Alex O’Connell hitting a pair of three-pointers.
Jones now has 100 assists, against 18 turnovers, a 5.55:1 ratio.
Duke has won five straight against Notre Dame, the last loss in overtime in the 2016 ACC Tournament. Duke is 6-5 against Notre Dame since the latter joined the ACC and 25-7 all-time.
Duke’s 10-for-19 performance from beyond the arc is the first time this season Duke has made more than half of its three-pointers.
- Notre Dame Basketball: Irish Overpowered and Outmatched by Duke
- “Gifted” Duke rolls out of January on top of its game
- Monday’s basketball: Williamson powers Duke past Notre Dame
- Finally healthy, Duke men’s basketball’s Marques Bolden starting to shine on the hardwood
- Strong start from Zion Williamson propels Duke men’s basketball past Notre Dame
- No. 2 Duke regains its shooting touch to torch Notre Dame
- More of the same as Notre Dame drops ACC game to Duke
- Canadian RJ Barrett’s play continues to impress at Duke
- Quick Recap: Red Panda-less Notre Dame Men’s Basketball Unsurprisingly gets crushed by Duke
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Alex O’ Connell