Duke's Marvin Bagley Jr. talks about how the Blue Devils are improving every game after he dominated in the win over Notre Dame. Chuck LIddy
Duke's Marvin Bagley Jr. talks about how the Blue Devils are improving every game after he dominated in the win over Notre Dame. Chuck LIddy


5 observations from Duke's ACC tourney win over Notre Dame

By Jonathan M. Alexander


March 08, 2018 11:26 PM


Duke's Marvin Bagley III put on a monster performance on Thursday in the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament as Duke beat Notre Dame 88-70.

Bagley finished with his 20th double-double of the year. No. 5 Duke (26-6) will play No. 12 UNC (24-9) in one of Friday's semifinal games.

Here are five observations from Thursday night's game:

1. Bagley and Allen combined for 56 points

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It hasn't happened often.

Grayson Allen and Bagley on fire at the same time. Usually when one is on, the other had an off night — and more times than not it was Allen this season. But on Saturday, both were on fire.

Bagley will get the praise, and deservedly so. Scoring 33 points and grabbing 17 rebounds is unreal. He knocked down his first five shots in the first half, all 3-pointers. Allen's fifth 3-pointer put Duke up 32-19 with 10:09 left in the first half. At that point, Allen and Bagley had combined to shoot 9-for-10 from the floor. The Blue Devils were rolling.

Duke's Grayson Allen (3) shoots as Notre Dame's John Mooney (33) and Rex Pflueger (0) defend during the second half of Duke's 88-70 victory over Notre Dame in the quarterfinals of the 2018 New York Life ACC Tournament at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, Thursday, March 8, 2018.
Ethan Hyman ehyman@newsobserver.com

Allen finished with 23 points and was 7-for-10 from the floor overall. Together, Bagley and Allen accounted for 64 percent of Duke's scoring.

"It's a tough thing to defend I think when we are (on together) because it's that inside-out game that stretches the defense," Allen said. "They have to commit to one. Marvin being tough inside and he has to draw the defense in. And when we have me on the outside shooting the ball well, and Gary too, the defense has to pick."

Duke's Marvin Bagley talks about the momentum the Blue Devils have developed with improvement every game. Bagley led Duke in their win over Notre Dame in the ACC Tournament. The A

2. Carter has a foot injury

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said freshman forward Wendell Carter Jr. has a foot injury and he didn't practice this week before the ACC tournament.

Notre Dame's Bonzie Colson (35) blocks a shot by Duke's Wendell Carter Jr. (34) during the first half.
Robert Willett rwillett@newsobserver.com

"He played gingerly tonight, and we'll see about tomorrow," Krzyzewski said. "We just have to be really careful. But he did not play at the level because he's not physically at that level."

Foul trouble kept Carter out for most of the game. He picked up three fouls in the first half, then a fourth foul early in the second half. He scored four points and grabbed four rebounds in 17 minutes played. Carter is Duke's best defensive player, and the Blue Devils' defense took a slight dip when he exited the game.

Bolden and DeLaurier played well in the second half when Carter was on the bench.

3. Duval's passing makes things easier for teammates

The offense flows a lot better when Duval is carving up the defense and finding the open man. He's often turnover-prone. But when he is on his game, as he has been recently, Duke is easily at its best.

Duke's Trevon Duval talks about teammates Grayson Allen and Marvin Bagley and playing UNC again after defeating Notre Dame in the ACC Tournament. Chuck Liddy

While Duval had six turnovers, they didn't have much of a negative effect on Duke's game. Rather, his 11 assists gave Duke a big boost.

The Blue Devils scored 1.222 points per possession, which is above average for teams around the country.

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski talks about the strong play of Grayson Allen and Marvin Bagley Jr. in the Blue Devils ACC Tournament win over Notre Dame. The ACC

4. Duke is cutting turnovers

Duke took care of the basketball. Turnovers have been one of Duke's biggest issues this season.

When the Blue Devils don't take care of the basketball, they limit their possessions and opportunities to score baskets. Duke had more than enough scoring opportunities Thursday, only turning the ball over a modest 10 times.

In the past, Duke had turned the ball as much as 19 times in a game.

5. Notre Dame, at times, was effective against Duke's zone

Notre Dame had more success against Duke's zone than other teams have had in the past.

Duke hadn't given up 70 points or more in a game since Feb. 8, when Duke lost to UNC 82-78 in Chapel Hill. Duke's defense had held opponents to under 65 points in six consecutive games.

The Fighting Irish scored 44 points in the paint on Thursday. Not having Carter for much of the game hurt Duke's zone some.

Duke still kept Notre Dame below the Fighting Irish's season average in points per possession.