Duke basketball displays best performance of season despite missing star

Duke basketball forward Matthew Hurt (Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball forward Matthew Hurt (Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports) /

75. 434. 65. 443. Final

It was the best performance of the season from the Duke basketball team against Notre Dame.

A week of controversy was finally put to bed for the Duke basketball team following its 75-65 victory over Notre Dame.

No. 21 Duke (3-2, 1-0 ACC) heard its season was over after head coach Mike Krzyzewski expressed doubt following its second loss in four games to Illinois and news came on Tuesday night that freshman Jalen Johnson would be out ‘indefinitely’ following a foot injury.

ESPN reported during the broadcast that Johnson, who was not in South Bend, is in a walking boot and will be reevaluated in 2-3 weeks with another MRI.

Despite not having Johnson, the Blue Devils played their best game of the season by far, always keeping the Fighting Irish (2-3, 0-1 ACC) at arm’s length throughout the game as Notre Dame never led.

ALSO READ: Jalen Johnson injury could be blessing in disguise

Sophomore Matthew Hurt led Duke in scoring once again with 18 points on 8-of-17 shooting from the field with five rebounds, three assists, two blocks, and a steal.

DJ Steward, Jeremy Roach, and Jaemyn Brakefield all reached double-figures in the 75-65 victory, as the freshman trio combined for 40 points on 15-of-25 shooting from the floor.

Mike Krzyzewski inserted graduate transfer Patrick Tape into the starting lineup for the first time this season, logging nine minutes and finishing with two points and three rebounds.

As a team, Duke shot 51.7 percent from the field and 53.3 percent from 3-point range while not missing in its five free throw attempts.

However, the Blue Devils did struggle containing Notre Dame junior Dane Goodwin, who exploded for 25 points on 10-of-12 shooting, 4-of-6 from 3-point range.

Duke basketball found something against Notre Dame

Even without Jalen Johnson, the Blue Devils figured something out against the Fighting Irish on the offensive end with much more movement without the ball and finding teammates for open 3-pointers.

ALSO READ: Duke goes on pause due to positive COVID-19 tests

Duke also used a fullcourt press against the Irish, who struggled with the defensive style in its previous game against Kentucky, resulting in 12 turnovers on Wednesday night, resulting in 14 points for the Blue Devils.

Krzyzewski’s team will now separate for the first time this season for a holiday break, returning in Durham before its December 29 meeting against Pittsburgh.

light. Hot. Duke basketball successor for Mike Krzyzewski closer than many think