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Offensive Struggles Put Irish Behind Early In 83-61 Loss To No. 2 Duke

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Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame (11-10, 1-7) struggled again out of the gate against a top-five opponent allowing Duke (18-2, 7-1) to jump out to an early lead and eventually an 83-61 victory over the Irish in South Bend.

The Blue Devils led by 15 points (17-2) just six minutes into the game to pull away early and never looked back with the Irish making just one of their first nine attempts.

Blue & Gold Illustrated recaps the contest below.

FIRST HALF

Duke entered the contest hitting just over 30 percent from the three-point line, but the Blue Devils opened with two-straight makes from deep via guards Tre Jones and Cam Reddish to build an early 6-0 lead over the Irish.

Guard Dane Goodwin got an offensive rebound and scored in the paint to put the Irish on the board. But, Duke star Zion Williamson went on a personal 6-0 run over the next two-plus minutes to give the Blue Devils a 12-2 advantage at the under-16 media timeout.

The Duke run got up to 11-0 after three more points from Williamson and a layup via Jones to push the advantage to 17-2.

Notre Dame cut into the lead a bit after guard TJ Gibbs connected on a triple and guard Nik Djogo tipped in a missed shot. But, Duke big man Marques Bolden hit a jumper on the other end to give the Blue Devils a 19-7 lead with 11:45 remaining in the opening half.

Barrett would continue finding his shot from deep with two three-pointers in the span of a minute to extend Duke’s lead to 26-7.

A quick 7-0 run by Notre Dame — behind a layup from wing DJ Harvey and triple from guard Prentiss Hubb — put the Irish back within 12 points (26-14) with under nine minutes to play.

After the Blue Devils got up 30-14, Notre Dame reeled off a 9-2 run to get back within single-digits. Laszewski made back-to-back layups before Barrett hit a tough long jumper. But, Hubb drilled his second three-pointer of the game and Gibbs made a tough layup to make it 32-23 Duke with 4:50 left.

Duke, however, quickly bounced back with a triple from Williamson and layup by Bolden to go back up 14 (37-23) at the under-4 media timeout. A dunk from Bolden followed by another pull up jumper from Barrett quickly put the Blue Devils up 18 at 41-23 with 2:54 left.

Notre Dame mustered some late buckets with Hubb getting a wide open layup and Mooney connecting on a triple, but forwards Javin DeLaurier and Williamson both got buckets in the paint to give Duke a 46-28 lead at halftime.

The Irish hit 11-of-34 (32.4 percent) field goal attempts in the opening half and 4-of-10 (40 percent) behind the arc. Hubb led all Notre Dame scorers with eight points with Mooney getting five points and six rebounds.

Duke countered with a 19-of-32 (59.4 percent) effort overall, including 5-of-9 on three-point attempts (55.6 percent). Williamson led all scorers through 20 minutes with 17 points.

SECOND HALF

It was much of the same for Notre Dame to open the second half from the field. The Irish made just 2-of-8 during the first four-plus minutes with Djogo hitting a three-pointer and Gibbs knocking down a jumper.

Duke also made two buckets during the stretch on just four attempts. Jones made a jumper, which Barrett followed on the next possession with a tough pull up three-pointer. The Blue Devils led 53-34 with 15:20 remaining.

A jumper from Williamson put the Blue Devils up by 21 points right out of the break, but the Irish were able to get it down to 16 points with 11:56 left after a jumper from Mooney. But, the game out of the under-12 timeout getting buckets from Jones, Williamson and Barrett all in the paint to go back up 18 points with 9:30 left. A three-pointer from Reddish after Barrett’s bucket put the Blue Devils back up 21 points at 66-45.

Harvey hit a tough jumper on the next Irish possession, but the Blue Devils found Reddish for a layup to send Duke’s lead to 68-47 at the under-8 media timeout.

Reddish continued to pour it on with five-straight points after a pair of Mooney free throws. Goodwin followed with a three-pointer before Barrett threw one down to keep the momentum going with the Blue Devils up 75-52.

Both teams cruised over the final few minutes with Duke eventually claiming an 83-61 win over the Irish.

Mooney finished with his seventh-straight double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds for his 13th overall. Hubb finished with 13 points, three rebounds and four assists. Gibbs was the lone other scorer for the Irish in double-figures with 12 points.

Notre Dame finished 23-of-66 (34.8 percent) from the floor and 8-of-24 (33.3 percent) behind the arc. The Irish had just nine assists on their 23 made field goals.

Williamson led all scorers with 26 points as Duke shot 54.2 percent for the game (32-of-59).

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