Published: Mon, March 12, 2018
Life&Culture | By Rose Hansen

Bagley pours in 33 as Duke routs Notre Dame

Bagley pours in 33 as Duke routs Notre Dame

Quickly, that changed. Even with its preseason All-American on the court, Notre Dame got crushed by No. 5 Duke 88-70 on Thursday night, leaving the Fighting Irish (20-14) to argue their case and hope that some of the other NCAA Tournament bubble teams get knocked off this weekend.

Second-seeded Duke (26-6) meets the victor between Thursday's late game between No. 12th-ranked North Carolina and Miami in Friday night's second semifinal.

"Bagley was just the first pick in the draft", Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey said. We're still learning. But I definitely think that we're getting better and we're continuing to grow as a team. "He's really explosive, and he has a really explosive first step". Notre Dame held Virginia Tech to just 26.7% (8-30) from beyond the arc and outrebounded the Hokies by a 38-32 margin in the win. The Blue Devils are averaging 8.4 three-pointers per game on 38.0% shooting from beyond the arc. It's that kind of attitude that helped him build this program into one of the 25 best in the country.

The Notre Dame men's basketball team looked dead in the water.

It was early in the season, but the Irish picked up a quadrant one win over Wichita State (67-66) in Maui along with a quadrant two blowout victory over LSU (92-53).

Notre Dame kept it close for the opening moments of the 2nd half.

Irish senior Bonzie Colson, who missed much of the regular season with a foot injury, tried to rally his team by scoring 18 points.

"I don't want to hear about the best 68 (teams in the NCAA Tournament)", Brey said. But Marvin Bagley III might have accomplished something else Thursday night at Barclays Center. The Irish shot 43 percent for the game. The future National Basketball Association lottery pick finished with 33 points and 17 rebounds.

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How many teams could withstand losing its top two players and almost 40 points of production facing a seven-game stretch that featured potentially six tournament teams and three top 25 programs? Duke fell to St. John's on the road, a team that had lost 11-straight leading into that matchup.

But the key for Virginia was neutralizing the active bigs of Louisville, Ray Spalding and Anas Mahmoud.

Duke led 41-37 at halftime despite only one field goal across the final six minutes.

"Our bigs do a heck of a job of (keeping the ball alive)", Hall said. "There are things that - I think there are a lot of things that - some of these young guys need to continue to make the transition to college baseball and trust in their ability, I think probably more so on the mound rather than anywhere else. Tipping those out are huge momentum swings for us".

Spalding finished with 16 points for Louisville. The Cavaliers are 29-2 on the season. The Hokies then scored 19 of the next 23 points to take its first double digit lead of the night at 27-17 with seven minutes left in the first frame. The Tigers made 12-of-28 3s (42.9 percent). Additionally, he had a career high 12 assists. "I told our guys I liked our rhythm". Ultimately the Irish could not keep pace with the Blue Devils. The underdogs could not get enough stops against Clemson in an offensive shootout.

With under one minute to play, Notre Dame allowed two threes from Virginia Tech. The first problem is Duke's zone. Justin Robinson scored 20 and Jordan Chatman added 15. Clutch free throws sealed it, capping a 50-point second half.

"It's always hard to play so many games in so short of a time, but we're not going to use that as an excuse, shots just weren't falling", Notre Dame guard Rex Pfleuger said.

Should Notre Dame be judged on the entirety of its season-long resume or just the games in which it was at full strength?

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