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Friday, June 14, 2024
The Observer

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Irish lose seventh in a row, falling to Duke on the road

Notre Dame fell to No. 9 Duke 71-53 in the team’s seventh in a row Wednesday night. Following Duke’s 93-84 loss to North Carolina, the Blue Devil’s had something to prove at home. The Irish stood in their way and did not put up much of a fight. Notre Dame faced Duke back on Jan. 6 and lost a close 67-59 game that was within four points in the final three minutes.

This time however, the game looked completely different from the start. Freshman guard Markus Burton led the Irish with 19 points on 8-17 shooting, while fellow freshman guard Braeden Shrewsberry added 13 points on a 4-10 shooting night. But it wasn’t nearly enough to compete with Duke. The Irish fall to 2-10 in conference play, and they are tied with Louisville for last place.

To open the game, Shrewsberry knocked in an early three-pointer for the Irish. Otherwise, Notre Dame once again started extremely flat. Sean Stewart capitalized on a turnover by the Irish with a monstrous dunk that had Cameron Indoor Stadium rocking. After a Caleb Foster three-pointer from Duke, the Irish trailed 20-5 with 10 minutes left in the first half. Once again turnovers plagued the Irish, as they struggled to take care of the ball and find quality looks.

But keyed by sophomore forward Kebba Njie and another Shrewsberry three, the Irish would go on to outscore Duke 20-13 to end the first half down just eight points, 33-25. Trailing by only single-digits seemed like a huge victory for Notre Dame after keeping the last game against Duke close. The Irish trailed by two points at halftime in their last Duke matchup, but played much better on defense and found opportunities to score outside of Burton in that contest.

To open the second half, the Irish once again seemed flustered. After a three-point shot by Jared McCain, who had 11 points on the night, Duke never looked back and dominated the rest of the game. A Burton three-pointer brought the score back to 42-33 with 16:19 left in the half, but that was the closest the Irish would keep the game in the second half. Ending on a 19-12 run over the last 10 minutes, the Blue Devils controlled this bounce back victory after the crushing loss to North Carolina.

As emotional as the win seemed for Duke, Notre Dame had 15 turnovers and shot extremely poorly from three-point range (25.9%). The Irish offense began stagnant and never picked up. Notre Dame has lost every game where they score under 60 points and has not won a conference game scoring less than 75. Notre Dame needs to find ways to help Shrewsberry and Burton find open looks, as they are the only two players that are scoring threats on a night-to-night basis for the Irish.

Looking to earn the first win in over a month, the Irish will take on Virginia Tech on Feb. 10.

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