Observations: Behind Juwan Durham’s Outburst, Notre Dame Basketball Pummels Wake Forest, Is 4-1 In Last Five Games
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Observations: Notre Dame Pummels Wake Forest, Is 4-1 In Last Five Games

Notre Dame handled Wake Forest 79-58 Tuesday afternoon, its fourth victory in the last five games. The Irish shot 50.8 percent, made 10 three-pointers and committed only eight turnovers.

The win moved Notre Dame to 7-9 and 4-6 in the ACC. Wake Forest, meanwhile, is 5-8 and 2-8 in the ACC.

Here are some observations from the game.

BOX SCORE

Notre Dame Fighting Irish men’s basketball junior guard Cormac Ryan
Junior guard Cormac Ryan and Notre Dame held Wake Forest to 34.4 percent shooting. (ACC)

• That’s two games in a row where Notre Dame entered the break with a lead, returned and put the game effectively out of reach just minutes into the second half. The Irish led 35-32 at halftime, then ripped off 16 straight points on the other side. With 15:08 remaining, they led by 19. It was merciless and surgical: Notre Dame scored on its first five trips down the court.

• With four minutes left in the game, these were the second-half numbers for the Irish’s offense: outscored Wake Forest 39-15, 1.5 points per possession, and six dunks.

• Yes, it’s last-place Wake Forest and middling Pittsburgh, but Notre Dame posted back-to-back 20-point ACC wins for the first time since it joined the conference before the 2013-14 season. That’s worth something.

• This was Juwan Durham’s most active game of the year. He was around the rim for dump-offs, successful when posting up and active in rim protection. All told, he had 18 points, nine rebounds, two assists, four blocks and a steal, with just one turnover. On defense, he controlled Wake Forest forwards Ody Oguama and Emmanuel Okpomo. Nine of Oguama’s 13 points came early in the second half when Durham was out of the game.

• Durham was so effective and aggressive in looking to score that he forced Wake Forest to double-team him later in the game, a rarity for most Irish opponents. He split one of the first doubles he saw for a dunk.

• Notre Dame mixed defenses between man-to-man with lots of switching and a variety of zones. Its 2-3 zone was effective. A singular possession of 1-3-1 late in the first half created an open three-pointer when Wake Forest overloaded it. The defense was good enough to hold an opponent to 1.0 points per possession or fewer for the fifth straight game. Wake Forest ended at .92 after a few garbage-time scores and shot 34.4 percent from the floor. The Demon Deacons were just 9-for-21 on layups and dunks.

• Point guard Prentiss Hubb had 10 assists, the fourth time in the last five games with at least nine of them. He added 10 points and committed only two turnovers. It was one of his best defensive performances of the year too. Wake Forest guard Daivien Williamson, who scored eight points on 3-of-11 shooting, will see Hubb in his sleep Tuesday night.

Hubb went to the bench with 4:32 left in the first half after committing his second foul – on a three-point play when switched onto Wake Forest forward Isaiah Mucius.

• Quietly, wing Nik Djogo has put together consecutive games with reliable production. Between them, he has 17 points, 15 rebounds and no fouls.

• The same goes for guard Cormac Ryan, who had 13 points, three assists, three steals and two blocks Tuesday. He has made eight of his last 11 three-point attempts.

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