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Beyond the Arc: Duke basketball vs. Notre Dame

In their first game at home against a ranked opponent, the No. 4 Blue Devils dominated No. 10 Notre Dame 90-60 Saturday afternoon at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Duke used a 43-7 run after falling behind 6-0 to seize control and four Blue Devils scored in double figures in the blowout win.

Revisiting the three keys to the game

  • Take advantage of strength down low: The Blue Devils got whatever they wanted offensively Saturday and their dominance inside was a big reason why. Although Jahlil Okafor only played eight minutes in the first half, in the second half the dominant center scored 16 points and finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Swingman Justise Winslow also was in attack mode once again, finishing with his third straight double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Overall, Duke held a 42-26 edge in points in the paint and Notre Dame was unable to even score a two-point field goal for more than eight minutes.
  • Contain Jerian Grant: Grant lit up the Blue Devils for 23 points and 12 assists when the Fighting Irish upset Duke in South Bend, Ind., last week, but was held in check Saturday. With Quinn Cook hounding the 6-foot-5 lead guard and Duke trapping aggressively on pick-and-rolls, Grant finished with just seven points on 3-of-10 shooting. He was just 1-of-7 from the free throw line in what was his team's worst performance of the season.
  • Feed off the crowd to avoid fatigue: After allowing the first six points of the game, Duke went 7-of-8 from behind the arc, shot 81 percent from the field and held Notre Dame to 36 percent shooting while forcing eight turnovers en route to a 43-13 edge and eventually a 50-24 halftime advantage. The crowd gave the Blue Devils lots of energy and the team responded with its best half of basketball.

Three key plays:

  • 15:53, first half: With Duke up 8-6, Cook records a steal and feeds the ball to Winslow, who throws down a monster dunk to send the crowd into a frenzy and score the ninth and 10th points of the Blue Devils' 43-7 run.
  • 7:55, first half: Matt Jones knocks down his third three-pointer in 5:10 to give Duke a 32-13 lead and continue the team's offensive explosion. On his way to a career high 15 points in the first half alone, Jones scored eight points in 1:11 as he continues to step up since Rasheed Sulaimon’s dismissal.

  • 13:32, second half: The Fighting Irish were on an 11-4 run and had scored 6 straight when guard Demetrius Jackson watched. Winslow swat his layup attempt rows into the crowd. Duke followed with a timeout, and after a quick Notre Dame bucket, the 18-point difference was as close as the Fighting Irish would get. The block and timeout started a 15-2 run that ended the little momentum Notre Dame had.

Three key stats:

  • Duke goes 7-of-8 on first-half 3-pointers: Matt Jones, Tyus Jones, Winslow and Cook all hit triples as the Blue Devils put together an offensive display for the ages in the opening 20 minutes. Duke assisted on 11 of its 17 made triples and its willingness to share the ball was a big reason for the open looks from the perimeter.

  • Notre Dame goes 6-of-17 from the free throw line: Notre Dame's issues from the free throw line did not help it on the comeback trail, as Grant's appalling 1-of-7 effort from the charity stripe epitomized the team's off day. The Blue Devils have had their own issues at the free throw line so far this season, but Saturday it was the nation's most efficient offense that was pressing from the charity stripe.

  • Duke out-scores Notre Dame 42-26 in the paint: After battling first-half foul trouble, Okafor took over in the second half and Winslow also had success attacking the lane throughout the game. But more impressive was Duke's ability to keep Notre Dame out of the paint and contain Grant, Pat Cannaughton and Zach Auguste—the team's three best players. The Blue Devils have had their issues defensively this season, but Saturday showed that they can guard when they communicate and have the right mindset.

And the Duke game ball goes to… Justise Winslow

Matt Jones continued his strong play, but Winslow's constant aggression was once again huge in Duke's 30-point win. Winslow also showed improvement by going 6-of-8 from the free throw line and the Houston native finished with 19 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and two blocks. When the 6-foot-6 swingman is attacking on both ends of the court, the Blue Devils are a different team, and that team was on display again Saturday afternoon.

And the Notre Dame game ball goes to… Steve Vasturia

After sinking the triple that ended Duke's chances in the game last week, Vasturia stepped up Saturday with 15 points on 5-12 shooting, but his efforts were futile with Connaughton and Grant struggling. The sharpshooter hit three triples and added three rebounds and three assists, but his teammates were not as ready to play as Notre Dame suffered its second loss in its past three games.

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