The Notre Dame Fighting Irish played a back and forth game against the Duquesne Dukes but ended up pulling away late, winning 67-56. Duquesne put up a good fight and even took a lead in the second half. The resilient Irish used a late run to win the game. Notre Dame is now 4-1 and back on the right track. This is what we learned.
John Mooney Is Rolling
Another strong performance for the big man. A lot of his damage was done in the second half, scoring 14 of this 16 points in frame number two. Mooney also notched 10 rebounds to turn in a double double. John Mooney is the most experienced big man. Notre Dame is at its best when he is playing like it. In a time when Duquesne took the lead, Mooney turned up the energy. A strong second half from him was the difference.
Growing Pains Are Real
I think Prentiss Hubb will eventually be a good point guard for Notre Dame. He even achieved his career high in points, 14, against the Dukes. The problem is that he is young and making mistakes. Hubb took a few ill-advised three point shots during the game but that is part of the learning experience. He showed flashes of greatness but also showed his youth. For right now, you have to take the good with the bad when it comes to Prentiss Hubb. Give him time.
Time To Learn
The two marquee matchups for Notre Dame in the non-conference are still to come. They play UCLA and Purdue, both top 25 teams in the country. The Irish now only have three games left before these two big games. It is important that we see Notre Dame take a few steps forward before the trip to UCLA. Both UCLA and Purdue will be good measuring stick games to see where they are before ACC play. If ND wants to play well and win these games, they must improve over the next three.
Notre Dame will play DePaul next. The game is on Saturday at noon. DePaul is 3-0 but has not played anyone of substance. At this point in the year, just keep winning and learning more about your team. The Irish are improving and fun to watch.