With revenge on their minds against the No. 10 Notre Dame Fighting Irish, the No. 4 Duke Blue Devils came out of the gate with ferocity at Cameron Indoor in Durham on Saturday afternoon. After trailing 6-0 early, Duke went on a huge 14-0 run to regain control of the game, giving the Crazies yet another reason to jump around. The Blue Devils’ tenacity on defense led to great transition opportunities, and opened up great looks from the land of plenty.
In fact, Duke was 7-8 from 3-point range while shooting a ridiculous 81-percent from the field in the first half. It seemed as if in a blink of an eye the Blue Devils pushed ahead to a commanding 43-13 lead, and took a 50-24 lead into the halftime break.
Before I talk about the second half, I would like to give you some interesting facts and statistics. Coming into the game, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski boasted an amazing record of 1,002-309 — that happens to be a .764 winning percentage. With eleven Final Four appearances and four National Championships in 35 seasons, Coach K is still going strong.
For the Irish, head coach Mike Brey happens to have Duke ties, coaching as an assistant in Durham from 1987-95. Let us just say that coach Brey did not enjoy much of a coming home party at Cameron Indoor on Saturday afternoon.
As the second half unfolded, the Blue Devils’ only letdown was allowing the Irish to cut the deficit to 20 points at 60-40. That sure did not last long as the leading candidate for NCAA Player of the Year, freshman center Jahlil Okafor, went to work with power and aggression. Okafor finished the afternoon with 20 points, 10 rebounds, 2 steals and a block. Sophomore guard, Matt Jones, scored a career-high 17 points in the win, and was sizzling hot from 3-point land. The rest of the team was just as outstanding — the entire squad brought their hard hats and lunch pails on this Saturday.
The hero for Notre Dame in their January 28th victory over Duke in South Bend was senior guard Jerian Grant. Well, he was a virtual no show in Durham on Saturday, scoring just 7 points. In the rematch on February 7th, the Blue Devils (20-3, 7-3 ACC) destroyed the Fighting Irish (21-4, 9-3 ACC), winning the contest 90-60.
Duke will not have time to celebrate this win very long, as they travel to Tallahassee on Monday night to take on Florida State. Notre Dame will travel to Clemson, facing the Tigers on Tuesday evening.
*Note: With the win, Coach K pushed his win total up to 1,003.
*Section Photo credit to Streeter Lecka, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Rob Kinnan, USA Today Sports