The Blue Devils' slide down the national polls continued after Duke dropped to No. 21 in the most recent NCAA polls.
Playing at Notre Dame, Tatum turned in his signature game of the season, recording his first career double-double (19 points, 14 rebounds) in the win. Beachem paced the Irish with 20 points against the Blue Devils. The best way to score against Duke is by drawing the bigs out of the paint and attacking the rim, so Jefferson, Giles, Marques Bolden, and even Tatum must become more adept at hedging at cutting down the angles for opponents. Coach Mike Krzyzewski had back surgery, which he still has not recovered from.
"They really, really liked Paul Longo, but it was clear he couldn't function in the manner he could the first few years", Kelly said.
Matt Farrell added 11 from the point but missed six of his nine shots and had just four assists.
Finally, something clicked on Monday. A couple of Kennard free throws then extended Duke's lead to 45-34 early in the second half. The Irish are now 17-5 overall and 6-3 in the ACC.
"[Defense] was a big focus", Tatum said.
"I think deflections and steals and hustle plays make a team go and when it is shared across the board like anything else, they can feed off each other", McCallie said.
With only one ranked team (Miami) among the final seven regular-season games, the Blue Devils are taking that Notre Dame loss and looking to turn it into a strong finishing kick.
The Duke senior, who was suspended one game earlier this season for tripping, looked as if he was at it again on Monday night, stomping on the foot of Notre Dame guard Temple Gibbs. Allen finished with a game-high 21 points.
"We didn't want to give up straight-line drives, and we didn't want to over-help when they did drive, because they're so unsafe because of how they shoot the basketball", Capel said.
Notre Dame is coming off a 62-60 loss at Georgia Tech for its second straight loss and third defeat in four games.
The ball kept falling into the basket for the Irish, and the team forced 15 turnovers on the night, turning the mistakes by the Blue Devils into points.
"It really started with our defense in the second half", junior Grayson Allen said. "We just couldn't get over the hump".
Luke Kennard scored 16 points before fouling out for the Blue Devils, while Matt Jones also scored 16 in the win. Especially given the fact that Duke will return to Durham for its next three games (including a showdown with North Carolina), this win could be a boon for a young team still getting acclimated to the trials and tribulations of conference play.
"We really locked in".
"We have to start, probably, a different lineup", said Brey of his team's offensive struggles in the opening 20 minutes.
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