Nearly a year ago the Blue Devils dropped two straight games which seemed to place the season in jeopardy. After Notre Dame walked into Cameron and came away with a four point win, Coach K and company find themselves in a very similar situation.
Notre Dame got a career high 31 points and 11 rebounds from Bonzie Colson to give the Irish a fourth win in the last five games against Duke, 95-91.
The Blue Devils led by five at halftime thanks in large part to the performance of Luke Kennard who also notched a career high with 30 points.
Once again an extremely limited bench played a part in a Blue Devil defeat, but this loss was more about Duke’s inability to rebound and defend. Notre Dame shot 50 percent from the floor, but rebounded over 40 percent of its own misses to come away with key baskets at the most crucial of times.
And it didn’t hurt that the Irish were lead by their veterans down the stretch either. Demetrius Jackson scored 24 points and Steve Vasturia added 22 as the Irish avenged a 30 points loss in Cameron a season ago.
Much like the Clemson game earlier in the week, Duke seemed to be done with the clock winding down under two minutes. Notre Dame led 86-80 with 2:03 remaining, but Duke rattled off seven straight points to take a pone point lead. After a Jackson jumper made it 87-86, Grayson Allen hit two free throws to give Duke its final lead with 47.2 seconds left.
Had Duke gotten a stop, the game was likely over. Instead Colson drove to the basket, got fouled, and converted the three point play with 35 seconds remaining.
Just as he did against Clemson, Matt Jones had a chance to knock down a three pointer to tie the game with 20 seconds left. But, for the second straight game the junior missed and Jackson knocked down two more free throws to decide the game.
With the loss, Duke drops to 14-4 on the season and 3-2 in the ACC. There’s not a lot of time for sorrow or pity either. The Blue Devils host Syracuse on Monday night.