Williamson’s 26 points lead Duke to 83-61 victory over Notre Dame
In the 33rd matchup overall between the two storied programs, the No. 2 Blue Devils cruised to an 83-61 victory over the Irish at Purcell Pavilion. With the loss, Notre Dame dropped to 11-10 (1-7 ACC). While Duke improved their overall record to 18-2 (7-1 ACC). The two teams now sit at opposite ends of the Atlantic Coast Conference Standings.
As if college basketball fans haven’t read this phrase already, Duke’s victory was powered by another huge night for freshman phenom Zion Williamson. Williamson finished with 26 points, going 10-of-12 from the field, to go along with nine rebounds and four blocks. Fellow freshmen RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish also added 30 combined points for a Blue Devils team that have now won four in a row after losing in overtime to Syracuse two weeks ago. Against the Irish, Duke’s freshman three-headed monster proved yet again that the hype is real.
Despite being noticeably outmatched, and without a full — or even close to full — team, the Irish played hard for a full 40 minutes on Monday night. Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski was impressed by the effort that Notre Dame showed his team.
“For a team that is riddled with injuries. I thought they played us hard the whole game. This is the biggest improvement for them, They didn’t watch a miss, they went after a miss. They had a lot of offensive rebounds, and that kept them in,” Krzyzewski said.
Irish head coach Mike Brey is one of seven former Blue Devil players or assistants under Mike Krzyzewski who is now a Division I head coach. Brey is also the only one out of those former assistants to have ever beaten Coach K and the Blue Devils. Having done so five times. After the game, Coach K had some kind words for his former assistant.
“We have a great relationship,” Krzyzewski said. “Mike helped develop our program when he was there. He was an integral part of us winning consecutive national championships, and going to seven final fours in nine years. Notre Dame has a great program. You have injuries and whatever so there can be a little blip right now. But the values, the hard work, the integrity, all of that is there, and it’s all Mike. I love him and respect the hell out of him. He’s one of the top coaches.”
Later, as Coach K was asked if he had any advice for Brey now that his team is going through a bit of a rough patch. The veteran Duke coach responded: “No, no, he knows how to get through it. He’s a pro man.”
In terms of the game itself, the Irish got off to another slow start and trailed 17-2 just six minutes into the first half. From there, the shooting struggles continued. As the Irish finished shooting 34.8 percent from the field (23-66) and 33.3 per cent from behind the arc (8-24).
Despite a rough night shooting (just 4-of-15 from the field). Junior forward John Mooney recorded his ACC-leading 13th double-double of the season. Including his seventh in as many games. Mooney finished the game with 14 points and 11 rebounds, his 15th game with at least 10 rebounds this season. The junior from Orlando, Florida, is poised to become the 10th Notre Dame individual since the 2005-2006 season to improve his scoring by at least 200 points during the junior season. However, Mooney did not record his first field goal until hitting a three with 10 seconds remaining in the first half.
Freshman point guard Prentiss Hubb played well for the Irish. He recorded 13 points, three rebounds and four assists. Junior wing Nikola Djogo also provided the Irish with good minutes from the bench and thought the squad gave Duke a good fight while gaining valuable experience in the process.
The Blue Devils play St John’s Red Storm next.