Notre Dame at Duke
Fourth-ranked Duke won’t have too long to think about its first home loss in ACC play this season as injury-plagued Notre Dame pays a visit Monday night for another league battle. The Blue Devils trailed by 10 at halftime and a rally fell short in the 65-63 home loss to second-ranked Virginia on Saturday, ending their streak of 80 or more points at 16 straight games.
“Our guys have not been in a game like that,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski told reporters after his team committed 16 turnovers. “The level of intensity and the high level of defense that they play, I thought knocked us back. And then in the second half, I thought we played really well. We fought. All this is a big learning experience.” The Blue Devils must recover fast after getting just six minutes from their bench players Saturday – partially due to illness and injury – as they try to take advantage of the depleted Fighting Irish, who have dropped five in a row. Notre Dame’s leading scorer and rebounder Bonzie Colson (foot) is not expected back until March and senior guard Matt Farrell (15.7 points, 5.3 assists) is likely out for Monday’s game with an ankle injury. Coach Mike Brey was still pleased with his team’s effort in the 80-75 loss to Virginia Tech on Saturday: “I’m disappointed, but I’ve got no beef with my guys, man, as long as they keep emptying the tank like that.”
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN
ABOUT NOTRE DAME (13-8, 3-5 ACC): Sophomore guard T.J. Gibbs has emerged as the go-to-player through all the injuries, averaging 19 points the last four games after scoring a career-high 27 against Virginia Tech. Gibbs is the top active scorer (15.4) overall and senior forward Martinas Geben adds 10 per game to go along with 8.1 rebounds overall while averaging a double-double (12.3 points, 10.6 boards) in ACC play. Junior guard Rex Pflueger (8.7 points) scored 15 against Virginia Tech on Saturday after totaling the same amount in his previous four contests combined.
ABOUT DUKE (18-3, 6-3): Marvin Bagley III has posted at least 30 points in four of his last eight contests and boasts 17 double-doubles to lead the Blue Devils in scoring (22.0) and rebounding (11.6) while shooting 61.4 percent from the floor overall. Duke’s next two top scorers – senior guard Grayson Allen (14.7) and freshman guard Gary Trent Jr. (14.4) – were just 5-for-19 from the field combined against Virginia. Freshman forward Wendell Carter Jr. (14.3 points, 9.4 rebounds) owns four double-doubles in his last five games and is 28-for-41 from the field over the past four.
1. Notre Dame sophomore F John Mooney has averaged 14 points and nine rebounds the last two games while draining five 3-pointers.
2. Duke freshman G Trevon Duval leads the ACC in assists (6.1), but is 5-for-19 from the field over the last three contests.
3. The Blue Devils won both matchups last season after dropping five of the previous six against Notre Dame.