No. 4 Duke Blue Devils hope to bounce back against Notre Dame Fighting Irish

By The Sports Xchange
No. 4 Duke Blue Devils hope to bounce back against Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Duke Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski reacts during play in the first half against the St. John's Red Storm on January 25, 2015 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. File photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

DURHAM, N.C. -- Fourth-ranked Duke will look to learn from the painful result from its latest game when it takes on a Notre Dame team that has been just plain hurting lately.

Monday night's game at Cameron Indoor Stadium is a rematch of last March's Atlantic Coast Tournament championship game, which was won by Duke.


For now, both teams are looking to get back on a winning path. Duke is coming off Saturday's 65-63 home loss to No. 2 Virginia in a much-anticipated showdown.

"You have to be able to do it at that (high) level and that's what we have to keep learning," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said, referring to his lineup that includes four freshmen in starting roles. "And we are learning. We're getting better."

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Notre Dame (13-8, 3-5 ACC) has been plagued by injuries, with point guard Matt Farrell sitting out Saturday night's 80-75 home loss to Virginia Tech. He'll miss the Duke game as well.


"We can't bring him back until he's healthy," Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said, noting that Farrell missed time early in the month and might have rushed back. "If that means four games or five games, that's the way it's going to be."

The Fighting Irish are trying to shed a five-game losing streak. At least Notre Dame's offense showed signs of picking up Saturday by scoring the most points in regulation in a six-game span. Sophomore T.J. Gibbs delivered with a career-high 27 points.

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Still, there have been six games in a row with the Fighting Irish failing to shoot at a 40-percent clip from the field.

"The group of guys that are healthy continue to scratch and fight and they'll continue to do that," Brey said.

Duke (18-3, 6-3) had its streak of scoring at least 80 points end at 16 games by Virginia, which leads the country in defense.

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Krzyzewski stuck with his starters for the entire second half, after a pair of reserves played for a total of six minutes in the first half. Marvin Bagley III, Grayson Allen and Gary Trent Jr. all logged the game's entire 40 minutes.


"I wasn't worried about that," Bagley said. "Me nor my teammates, we weren't going to let 'tired' beat us. So we had to put that away and try to finish out the game. It didn't go our way, so we've got to learn from it and move on."

Krzyzewski also downplayed the amount of court time consumed by his starting unit.

"We have to put (the Virginia game) behind us and get ready for Notre Dame," Krzyzewski said. "It was a very physical game. I'm not saying dirty or anything like that. It was hard-fought. We have to recover, not just emotionally, but physically, before Monday night."

Bagley, a freshman forward, posted 30 points against Virginia, marking his ACC-leading sixth game with 30 or more points.

Duke excelled in a Saturday-to-Monday turnaround earlier in the month when it defeated Wake Forest at home and then went on the road to defeat Miami.

Duke has dropped to third place in the ACC, three games behind Virginia -- and those teams won't meet again in the regular season. The Blue Devils were the conference preseason favorites.

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