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Duke Guts Out An Important Win Over Notre Dame, 68-64

It wasn’t easy, and as it turns out, that was probably good.

NCAA Basketball: Notre Dame at Duke
 Feb 14, 2023; Durham, North Carolina, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Dariq Whitehead (0) drives to the basket as Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard JJ Starling (1) defends during the second half at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Blue Devils won 68-64. 
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Frankly, we weren't sure what to expect from Duke Tuesday night against Notre Dame. Losing the way the Blue Devils did at Virginia is traumatic and this team is so young and while the Irish are struggling, they’re a supremely experienced team capable of teaching a young team a lesson. We said that one of their three point shooters might heat up, and that happened - just not from three point range.

Duke played well in stretches - in stretches very well - but not for the entire game - and Dane Goodwin nearly made them pay.

The 6-6 senior repeatedly backed thin Duke defenders down into the lane and took full advantage of Tyrese Proctor and Jacob Grandison, hitting 11-13 for 25 points.

Basically he kept Notre Dame in the game.

Duke started aggressively, with Kyle Filipowski seemingly on a mission after the frustration he experienced in Charlottesville Saturday, where he was not only cheated out of potentially game-winning free throws, but completely shut out as well.

But as we’ve been saying, the Irish are struggling - they’re now 10-16 - but they know what they’re doing and Mike Brey is a brilliant offensive coach.

The score was back-and-forth for a while before Duke took an 18-17 lead 9:39 into the first half for a lead it would not relinquish.

Not that Notre Dame ever quit. Duke’s biggest lead was 42-28 with 15:39 left to play. And the Irish kept fighting until JJ Starling cut the lead to 63-62 with :36 left.

Naturally, that’s what a lot of Duke fans will focus on. But that’s not the thing to remember about this game.

The thing to remember is that a young team didn’t panic. They didn’t have a long scoring drought in the last few minutes, with Filipowski hitting a big basket and Proctor and Roach both making layups to extend (and preserve) Duke’s lead late.

They made winning plays in other ways. Filipowski hit a pair of free throws to push the lead back to 62-54.

Cormac Ryan and JJ Starling both hit threes to cut the lead to 62-60 and earlier this season, maybe Duke would have been rattled.

Not so much here.

Roach hit a free throw with :55 to put Duke up by three then Starling drove to cut the lead back to 63-62.

Then, with :10 seconds on the clock, Roach found Mark Mitchell open near the Duke bench, just past the three point line.

And he nailed it.

Duke was up 66-62 but Ven-Allen Lubin scored with :03 left to cut the lead back to two.

Ryan fouled Proctor who hit his free throws with aplomb.

In the end, Notre Dame probably did Duke a favor. Theoretically, this should have been an easy win, even if it wasn’t emotionally. Duke had to fight and apply the lessons learned with hard experience this season.

And they did. It may seem like a disappointing win, but it’s the exact opposite.

Notes...Increasingly, Dariq Whitehead looks as if he can provide the consistent outside shot this team really needs. He also was really aggressive defensively.

What is the deal with the ACC and Kyle Filipowski? People are really beating him up, as we saw with the throat punch at Virginia Tech and the foul at the end of the game at UVA that was rescinded. We didn’t see who hit him, but someone punched Fiipowski in the throat again against Notre Dame, and again it wasn’t called. It’s just incredible.

Mike and Mickie Krzyzewski returned to Cameron, presumably to see Brey coach here one last time. He was worried that he would be a distraction but he really wasn’t. We hope they’ll come back for more.

After a high-turnover game against Virginia, Duke had just eight here...Filipowski was the only Blue Devil to hit double figures though Whitehead got nine on three pointers...Roach shot just 3-12...

Duke held off a late Notre Dame comeback attempt thanks a last-minute triple by Mark Mitchell.


Player Of The Game vs. Notre Dame

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    Mark Mitchell
    (40 votes)
  • 73%
    Kyle Filipowski
    (187 votes)
  • 0%
    Dereck Lively
    (1 vote)
  • 1%
    Tyrese Proctor
    (5 votes)
  • 1%
    Jeremy Roach
    (3 votes)
  • 3%
    Dariq Whitehead
    (10 votes)
  • 2%
    Ryan Young
    (6 votes)
  • 0%
    Jaylen Blakes
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    Jacob Grandison
    (2 votes)
256 votes total Vote Now