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Duke Coach Jon Scheyer Strongly Compliments Notre Dame

Notre Dame basketball is clearly transitioning in Micha Shrewsberry’s first year as head coach but that doesn’t mean they’re not improving.  The Irish were a heavy home underdog to No. 13 Duke on Saturday night but they didn’t play the part of an unworthy opponent.

The Irish actually jumped out to a nine-point lead, but it didn’t hold.  As has been an issue seemingly for years for Notre Dame, they couldn’t close the first half well, allowing Duke to end it on a 13-4 run.

In the second half Duke was largely in control but at various times when it appeared they were about to run away, Notre Dame would tighten up on defense and stay within an arms length.

Ultimately it was a 67-59 Duke victory but one that left Blue Devils head coach Jon Scheyer impressed with what Micha Shrewsberry is building in South Bend.  Below are a few of the highlights from Scheyer’s postgame press conference.

Excited for Duke's First ACC Road Win

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

“First of all, we’re excited to get our first road win. We knew it wouldn’t be easy. Credit to Notre Dame. Coming into this game, we knew how tough it was going to be. You’ve seen what they’ve done. I credit Coach [Shrewsberry] with what he’s done with his team. I think that Marist game was a really important game for them and really, they’ve been a completely different team ever since.

Compliments Notre Dame Defense

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

“We told our team, the three conference games [Notre Dame has] played – Miami, Virginia, NC State – all three teams struggled offensively. And for us, it has not been easy. But the last five games, we’ve scored in spurts pretty well. So, I really credit what they did on defense. They made life hard for us, they’re physical, they’re tough. Offensively, they make you work, they put you in a lot of low shot clock situations and you have to have great discipline.”

Importance of How First Half Closed

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

“I thought late in the clock we got out of our stance a little bit and some of those plays hurt, and they add up through the game. But for our guys, I thought we showed amazing toughness. The way we closed the first half, I think it was 14-3, that’s huge if you can end a half that way when you don’t play your best.”

Mark Mitchell's Big Night for Duke

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

“And then the job that Mark Mitchell did – let me just tell you how proud I am of him. He’s been working his butt off, consistently, he’s been really decisive. Playing more confidently. I love the two three’s, I love the shooting, but what I love the most is the 14 rebounds. I think that shows how much he competed, and he really came through for us tonight in a big way. Proud to get our first ACC road win and our second ACC win.”

Story originally appeared on Fighting Irish Wire