DURHAM, N.C. –– After a stinging loss to rival No.3-ranked North Carolina on Saturday, the Blue Devils earned a 71-53 bounceback win over Notre Dame last night.
No.9 Duke moves to 17-5 on the season and 8-3 in the ACC, completing the first of a three-game homestand where they face Boston College and Wake Forest.
They made nearly all of their shots in the first half, going on a 15-0 run in the opening minutes. From then on, they refused to relinquish the lead for the entirety of the game, ending the half with an eight point advantage, 33-25.
“We had to come out with energy and effort and I thought we did in the middle of the game but we got a little complacent,” said guard Jared McCain.
The freshman finished with eleven points providing a spark to the Devils offense, who despite winning by 18 points, didn’t have the cleanest shooting night. The Devils shot 43.3 (26-of-60) percent from the field and 22.2 (4-of-18) percent from beyond the arc and 60 (15-of-25) percent from the charity stripe.
Head coach Jon Scheyer went deep into his rotation early in the game getting TJ Power and Jaylen Blakes off the bench. Freshman guard Caleb Foster led the drive for the Devils with 13 points, his first double digit outing since Jan. 20 when he scored 16 against Pittsburgh. This season, he’s averaging 7.7 points so his performance was decisive in tonight’s win. Program mainstay Mark Mitchell, also scored 13 points which is slightly above his average of 12.4 points per game.
One of the things coach Scheyer wants to work on is keeping his star center Kyle Filipowski out of foul trouble. Over the past six games he’s had three or more fouls with teams now preparing to be more aggressive with the big and force him to make a mistake.
“He’s just so foul prone,” Scheyer said. “I thought it was a great turning point for him tonight to be able to play through that foul trouble. He didn’t get his fourth till later so hopefully he can get to that point where he can play through having two fouls in the first half if that happens again, then having three fouls early in
the second half. That’s something we’re gonna look to do.”
The Fighting Irish did a good job of that last night with Filipowski sitting for the majority of the first half and ending the game with four fouls. This absence led to Scheyer being very reliant on the production of his guards.
For the majority of the second half, the Devils sustained a double-digit lead, holding off the offensive pressure from the Irish, much due to the fact that they had an even worse shooting night making just 33.9 (20-of-59) percent.
The Blue Devils will be back at Cameron Indoor on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. to face Quinten Post and Boston College.