No. 4 Duke squanders 10-point second half lead, falls to eighth-ranked Notre Dame 77-73



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SOUTH BEND, Indiana — Duke missed too many opportunities to knock off Notre Dame.

The No. 4 Blue Devils had 13 offensive rebounds but they finished with just nine second-chance points, were 10 of 20 from the free-throw line, and didn't make a shot from the floor in the final 4:30 as the No. 8 Irish rallied for a 77-73 victory on Wednesday night.

"There were just some small things, and if we had capitalized on them, things could have swung our way," Duke guard Tyus Jones said. "We have to regroup and try to do the little things."

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said a key was the Blue Devils' inability to extend the lead after opening a 10-point lead with less than 13 minutes left, with a turnover and allowing Notre Dame to rebound after a missed free throw and make a basket.

"Those are the critical plays that if you make then you don't have the end of the game," Krzyzewski said.

The end of the game was all Jerian Grant. He finished with 23 points and 12 assists, and in the final 67 seconds hit a jumper just as the shot clock expired.

"He loves the moment," Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. "He's such a bright lights, big-stage guy. He is really clutch."

Grant sparked the winning rally when he lost control of the ball at the free-throw line as the shot clock was running down. He grabbed it at the last second and hit the basket to give the Irish a 73-70 lead.

"It's a heck of a bucket," said Krzyzewski, who earned his 1,000th win on Sunday. "A fortunate bucket, but a heck of a bucket."

Grant added six rebounds, three steals and two blocked shots. On the pass to set up the 3-pointer, Grant looked as though he was holding for the last shot when he suddenly passed to Steve Vasturia in the corner. It was the only basket Vasturia made all night.

"The best thing about him is, he's going to attack, but he's not going to attack with tunnel vision just to get to the basket," Pat Connaughton said. "Everyone on this team knows that he's going to make the right play, the winning play, and he did that."

A year ago the struggling Irish stunned No. 7 Duke 79-77 by holding standout freshman Jabari Parker to a season-low seven points. The Irish couldn't do the same against Jahlil Okafor, who, like Parker, is from Chicago, just 90 miles west of South Bend. Okafor was a point shy of a double-double at halftime and finished with 22 points and 17 rebounds.

But he was 2-of-7 from the free throw line, including 1-of-5 in the final 4:30.

"Jah had a heck of a game," Krzyzewski said. "If he hit those free throws then we'd be talking about Jah having the amazing game, not Grant. But Jah had a great game."

The win keeps Notre Dame (20-2, 8-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), which finished in 13th place in its first season in the league last year, in second-place halfway through the conference season. Duke (17-3, 4-3) is off to its worst start in league play since opening the 1995-96 season 3-4 after losing their first four league games.

Zach Auguste added 14 points and six rebounds for the Irish, Connaughton added 13 points and 12 rebounds, and Demetrius Jackson had 10 points. Quinn Cook had 15 points for Duke, Jones 14 and Justin Winslow 13.

GREAT MENTOR

Brey, an assistant at Duke for eight seasons, beat Krzyzewski for the second straight time. He is the only former assistant to beat Krzyzewski. Overall, Krzyzewski is 19-2 against former assistants. "I don't really look at it like that," Brey said. "It's about our team now."

TIP-INS

Duke: The Blue Devils failed in their attempt to win three games against top 10 opponents on the road for the first time in program history. They beat then-No. 2 Wisconsin 80-70 on Dec. 3 and then-No. 6 Louisville 63-52 on Jan. 17. ... Okafor scored in double figures for the 20th straight game.

Notre Dame: The Irish improved to 6-1 at home against top 10 teams since 2010, with the only loss coming against then-No. 3 Virginia earlier this month. ... The Irish are 14-7 overall under Brey against top 10 teams at home. ... Notre Dame is 6-1 this season in games decided by five points or fewer. ... It was Notre Dame's 600th home victory since the Joyce Center opened during the 1968-69 season. The Irish are 600-157 at home in that span.

UP NEXT

Duke: at No. 2 Virginia on Saturday.

Notre Dame: at Pittsburgh on Saturday.

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