Three things we learned after Notre Dame’s 88-66 loss to Duke.
1. “The Irish miss Bonzie Colson and Matt Farrell.” - Captain Obvious
Yes, the broken record continues to repeat itself as the Irish lose again without their two most reliable scorers. What is hard to stomach is just how good the Notre Dame Fighting Irish might be if Colson and Farrell were on the court and doing their thing. The unfortunate reality is that while the Irish fought hard for the past five games until the Duke loss, they probably needed to steal one or two of those to keep themselves from falling too far behind while Colson and Farrell make their way back.
The Duke Blue Devils showed what the Irish might be in for as their conference schedule continues to get tougher. They will fight until the end, but they may be in too big a hole by the time their big guns return.
2. “The second half was not good.” - Also Captain Obvious
For 20 minutes, it seemed like the Irish may once again be in position to win a game they had no business being in. John Mooney came out firing from downtown to keep the Irish within striking distance, and finished the first half down by just eight. Mooney finished the night shooting 4-of-6 from beyond the arc.
Then, in a flash, it was over. Like the Monstars stealing talent from the NBA players, the Blue Devils swiped Mooney’s hot hand and caught fire behind a pair of Gary Trent Jr. threes to spark a 28-4 Blue Devils run. Duke finished the evening hitting 12 of their 20 three-point attempts, and the Irish stood no chance.
3. T.J. Gibbs is the real deal
A major bright spot of these dark times for the Irish has been the play of Gibbs. The sophomore dropped a team-high 22 points while turning the ball over just twice. This may sound contradictory, but the fact that Gibbs didn’t have his best shooting night and still filled the scoring column was another good sign in his offensive evolution. Despite shooting just 6-for-16 from the field, Gibbs got to the line often and finished the night shooting 9-for-10 from the free throw line.
Again, the Irish season may be slipping away if they don’t get reinforcements back soon, but Gibbs is making the most of a bad situation by shouldering the load and learning to lead a team that is going to be full of promising underclassmen in the next two years, and will need a seasoned veteran to show the way.