Duke brings the heat as Notre Dame Basketball falls in the ACC Tournament

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 08: Matt Farrell
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 08: Matt Farrell /

Notre Dame fell the Duke 88-70 in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament

After the biggest comeback in program history, Notre Dame faced its toughest opponent — Duke. It was the third game in as many days for the Irish, as they looked to take on the No. 2 team in the ACC. It proved to be a challenge, but the Irish were up for it.

You could tell it was March with how both teams came out. Great movement from the Irish made to offense flow, but Grayson Allen had the all answers for the Blue Devils. Four trey’s for the senior to begin the game gave Duke the early 25-17 lead.

Allen and Marvin Bagley III combined 8-of-9 from the field for 21 those 25 Duke points.

But the Irish stayed in it by getting to the paint often. 11 assists for Notre Dame’s first 12 baskets including a pass from Martinas Geben to Bonzie Colson brought the Irish back.

The Fighting Irish spirit

Chipping away at the lead, Notre Dame used a 10-to-1 run to bring it within four. But they couldn’t hit from the line. Four straight missed free throws for the Irish kept Duke in control 39-31 with 3:30 remaining in the first half.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish Basketball
Notre Dame Fighting Irish Basketball /

Notre Dame Fighting Irish Basketball

John Mooney rocked the rim just before the half to make up even more ground. Duke led 41-37 but the Notre Dame had the momentum. The Blue Devils started missing and Notre Dame started connecting. Shooting percentage starting to even out, as shot ND 43.2 percent compared to Duke’s 44.1 percent.

Duke took the momentum away from the Irish after back-to-back dunks opened up the 51-41 lead. The Blue Devils took a 13-point lead, but Colson went at Wendell Carter Jr. to force his fourth foul.

A veteran move from Colson, but Carter Jr. wasn’t the problem, Bagley was. 23-points and 13 rebound with 12-minutes left to play for the ACC Player of the Year.

As much as Duke tried to pull away, Notre Dame stayed close. Three-point shooting continued to be a struggle for the Irish, as they just couldn’t hit. The question became, could Notre Dame make up the 72-56 difference from inside the arc?

It wouldn’t matter. Duke just kept piling it on, making seven shots in a row as the lead expanded to 80-64. From there, it was smooth sailing for the Blue Devils. The efficiency of Duke was just too much for the Irish. Final score: Duke 88, Notre Dame 70.

Must Read: Notre Dame Basketball: Huge Irish comeback tops Virginia Tech in ACC Tournament

With a loss in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament, it will now be in the hands of the committee in terms of whether or not the Irish punch a ticket to the Big Dance or get ready for a run in the NIT.