SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Freshman Paolo Banchero scored 21 points, classmate AJ Griffin added 13 and each had a team-high nine rebounds as No. 6 Duke handed Notre Dame its first home loss of the season in a 57-43 Atlantic Coast Conference Road on Monday night.
The Blue Devils (18-3, 8-2 ACC) tied for first with idle Miami with their fourth straight win for coach Mike Krzyzewski, who is retiring at the end of the season and was making his last appearance at the sold-out Purcell Pavilion against his former protégé, Mike Brey. Notre Dame, which entered the game 9-0 at home this season with wins over Kentucky and North Carolina (14-7, 7-3), saw its four-game winning streak end.
Grad transfer Paul Atkinson Jr. was the only Irish player in double figures with 14 points and nine rebounds. Leading scorers Blake Wesley and Dane Goodwin, who have each averaged 15 points or more this season, were held to six and zero points. Goodwin, who had scored at least one point in 86 straight games, had entered the game with 20 double-digit scoring efforts this season.
The Blue Devils, shooting 39.4 percent, outrebounded the smaller Irish 51-36 with Banchero 6-foot-10, Griffin 6-6 and Theo John 6-9 apiece with nine and Mark Williams 7-1 adding eight. The height advantage also contributed to Notre Dame’s 27.9% shooting effort (17 of 61).
The game was the makeup of a Jan. 1 game postponed over COVID concerns at the Duke program, with Notre Dame leading just once at 2-0.
COACHES SURVEY:Auburn and Gonzaga share the top spot
MARCH INSANITY THREATS:The five most surprising starts in men’s college basketball
ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW:Stay up to date with our sports newsletter
The Blue Devils scored the next seven points and gradually increased their lead over the Irish, who were shooting poorly (18.8%). Notre Dame closed the deficit to four, 18-14, with a pair of Atkinson dunks off Prentiss Hubbs feeds with 4:47 remaining in the half. But Duke snapped a 9-0 run to lead at halftime 27-14.
Duke doubled the score to 40-20 on a Banchero dunk with 14:42 left and was in control the rest of the way.
Duke: The Blue Devils opened up a 13-point halftime lead, 27-14, despite shooting just 37.5 percent (12-for-32) from the field. That’s because Duke outrebounded the Irish 29-19 behind seven rebounds from John and six from Banchero, who had seven points in the first half.
Notre Dame: Brey’s Irish looked anything but a second-place ACC team, shooting 18.8 percent in the first half and being outrebounded 29-19 by the taller Blue Devils. Notre Dame leading scorers Dane Goodwin and freshman Blake Wesley had just four points, all from Wesley, and combined to shoot 2-for-15, including 0-for-3 from 3-point range, where Notre Dame got 0 out of 8 right.
Duke ranked sixth in Ferris Mowers’ weekly coaches’ poll released Monday, the only ACC team ranked. Miami and Wake Forest were among the other schools that received votes.
COACH K’S FAREWELL TOUR
Brey, who was an assistant at Duke under Krzyzewski from 1987 to 1985, including the 1991 and 1992 teams that won the first of his five NCAA titles, greeted his former boss during a halftime video. The game sold out: The first time Notre Dame has sold out at home since Duke visited here in 2019 with freshman sensation Zion Williamson and won handily, 83-61. Among the 9,149 in attendance were former Notre Dame coach Digger Phelps, who ranks second to Brey on the all-time wins list for men’s basketball, and college and pro Hall of Famer football Jerome Bettis, who returned to campus 20 years later. the last season of him to finish his bachelor’s degree and sat in the student section.
UNTIL NEXT TIME
Duke: After playing their third game in the last seven days, the Blue Devils wrap up a three-game road trip Saturday in North Carolina.
Notre Dame: In the midst of an 11-day, five-game winning streak, the Irish travel to ACC No. 1 Miami on Wednesday.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism