Duke gets revenge by routing Notre Dame

SHARE Duke gets revenge by routing Notre Dame

DURHAM, N.C. — Oh, boy. That’s going to leave a mark.

The question isn’t how far Duke can go after its 90-60 destruction Saturday of Notre Dame. The No. 4 Blue Devils are dazzling offensively and, when they want to be, extraordinary at the defensive end. If there’s a team out there that’s better equipped to tangle with the many-headed dragon known as Kentucky … well, let’s just stop right there. Because there isn’t one.

No, all the questions now are about the 10th-ranked Irish. Was their victory over the Blue Devils 11 days earlier in South Bend a mirage? Still 21-4 overall and 9-3 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, are their days as a league contender pretty much over? And forget about how far they can go — after a beating like this, will Mike Brey’s team be able to pick itself up, dust itself off and take a single step in the right direction?

“That was a thorough beating,” Brey said. “They played fabulous. They were great. … It was one of those where you’re hanging on for dear life.”

Sorry if that’s a little dramatic, but ask the Irish how over-the-top this experience was.

In Notre Dame’s first appearance at Cameron Indoor Stadium since Brey was a Mike Krzyzewski assistant over two decades ago, it was loud, adversarial and intimidating, and that was just for the out-of-town reporters wedged between the Cameron Crazies and the court. For the Irish, it had to be pretty mind-blowing. They jumped ahead 6-0 on three-pointers by Steve Vasturia and Pat Connaughton, then watched, no doubt awestruck, as Duke (20-3, 7-3 ACC) tore off a spectacular run of — are you ready for this? — 43-7.

Making it all the more impressive, the Blue Devils made much of that happen with superstar center Jahlil Okafor glued to the bench with two early fouls. It was 17-9 when the expected No. 1 pick in the 2015 NBA draft — who’d said his team “gave away” the first meeting with the Irish — went out. Duke finished the half 33-15 without him. The Blue Devils shot an amazing 81 percent from the field in the half and made all but one of their eight three-point attempts.

“That’s the best half we’ve played this season,” Krzyzewski said.

Notre Dame was without its own star, Jerian Grant, for nearly the entire first half — in a manner of speaking, anyway. Grant, who dominated the first meeting with 23 points, 12 assists and six rebounds, didn’t score until sinking a free throw nearly 19 minutes in.

“I would think the atmosphere here, as many atmospheres as [the Irish] have been in, it probably knocked them back on their heels,” Brey said.

Okafor was brilliant in the second half and finished with a game-high 20 points and 10 rebounds. But he got such help — 19 and 11 from fellow freshman Justise Winslow, 17 points from reserve Matt Jones, 12 points and a smooth seven assists from freshman Tyus Jones — that there was no way to leave this place without an understanding of how well-rounded the Blue Devils are.

Duke has won at least 20 games in 30 seasons, including 19 in a row, under Krzyzewski, for whom Brey worked from 1987 to ’95. The Irish head next to Clemson for a game Tuesday night.

“I would hope and I would think, given the leaders I have on this team, that they’ll be energized to bounce back,” Brey said.

The Latest
The president is ordering cities to replace lead pipes for drinking water within a decade. Chicago is getting at least 40 years to fix the problem.
Officer Kassandra Canadzic was in her parked squad car Nov. 9 when she was rear-ended by an SUV. She jumped out and rescued the other driver whose car was in flames.
Fire tore through an apartment building in the 800 block of Burr Oaks Drive early Thursday. Five people were injured, and about 100 people were displaced from their homes.