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Duke Blue Devils Top the Irish in ACC Quarterfinals

13 March, 2018, 04:35 | Author: Joan Malone
  • Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame (20-14) made just 5-of-23 from 3-point range and had 31 defensive rebounds to 20 for the Irish. But in the month of March, inexplicable things tend to pile up in droves.

Duke freshman Marvin Bagley III was too much for Notre Dame, scoring 33 points as the fifth-ranked Blue Devils posted an 88-70 victory in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament quarterfinals Thursday night at the Barclays Center in NY. The Irish's 21 points at half were their fewest since February 3 against NC State when they scored exactly 21, too.

"I think you just want to continue to grow as a team", Aoki said.

"I definitely think that we're getting better and we're continuing to grow as a team".

After a woeful first half that saw a 15-11 Notre Dame lead transform into a 29-19 deficit in 10 minutes of game time, the Irish trailed 34-21 going into the locker room.

Bagley and Allen were a combined 8-for-9 on 3-pointers and the rest of the team was 1-for-8 from beyond the arc, but it didn't matter.

"He's really impressive", Brey said.

"When you lose seven games in a row and you're under.500, you're talking and dreaming about making a run to get to the bubble, which I'm very proud that we did". Notre Dame was able to score 17 points off of turnovers and 10 second chance points throughout the game.

The Blue Devils, the tournament's No. 2 seed, shot 55.4 percent from the field and got monster efforts from their two leading scorers.

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The Irish outscored the Hokies 45-18 over the final 15 minutes of play to seal the six-point victory. This one likely stings for Irish fans given Notre Dame won the regular season matchup on the road without Colson and Farrell. Senior guard Matt Farrell was 3 for 11, and Pflueger was 1 for 5. He also blocked one shot and ripped down 9 rebounds. Farrell said after the game his tenacity and energy that ignited the play proved to be the clear momentum shifter his squad needed. I've never seen anything like that.

Duke will need more production from both Allen and Bagley to fend off the Irish down the stretch, but their hot start bodes well for the Blue Devils.

After Allen opened the game looking like he was going to have the game of his lifetime, Bagley's performance resulted in one of the greatest ACC Tournament performances in Duke history.

Bonzie Colson should personally send a thank you letter to the Duke coaching staff if they give him the free throw line to operate which is the weak spot in the 2-3 zone.

Grayson Allen made his first five 3-pointers and ended with 23 points on 7 of 10 shooting overall, while Trevon Duval handed out a team-high 11 assists for the second-seeded Blue Devils (26-6).

It's hard to know for sure when a team plays in a league tournament game if it's truly do or die, but Notre Dame seemingly was facing that ultimatum.

Duke thrives on the guys that may not be showing up on college campuses anymore, not if Adam Silver and the National Basketball Association have anything to say about it, and Bagley is the ideal example of that.

Duke won the season's first game against Notre Dame, 88-66, on January 29. This time around, he said, it's a whole different ballgame. "We can't assume that we have an extra day because one loss and we're back home and we don't get to come back, practice a little bit more, come back and play in this tournament again".


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