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Duquesne falls to Notre Dame for 1st loss of season

| Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018, 10:33 p.m.

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — After losing one of its captains to a transfer request early Tuesday, Notre Dame appeared like it might also lose on its home court, but a ferocious response down the stretch lifted the Irish to a 67-56 win over Duquesne.

John Mooney scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, and freshman Prentiss Hubb added 14 points as Notre Dame improved to 4-1. Junior TJ Gibbs chipped in 11.

Trailing the Dukes (3-1), 52-51, at 7 minutes, 9 seconds to go, the Irish went on a 13-0 spree over the next six minutes to take control at 64-52 with 1:19 remaining

“I really think it comes down to the defensive end,” said Rex Pflueger, who contributed four points and a drawn charge to the run for Notre Dame. “That’s what gets our offense going. It really gives us more energy when (we) see our guys taking charges … That carries over to the offensive end from a confidence standpoint, and I think that’s why we were able to get that run going.”

Added Irish coach Mike Brey: “I thought our defense again was excellent. We (had) nine straight stops to get out of there.”

The win came after Notre Dame announced Tuesday morning that junior tri-captain Elijah Burns would be granted an in-season transfer request.

Burns, a 6-foot-8 forward who was averaging 5.3 points and 3.8 rebounds in 11.3 minutes per outing, could be eligible to play at another school by Jan. 1, given that he is scheduled to graduate from Notre Dame in December.

Brey said Notre Dame would not block such a waiver request.

“Now they’re more minutes to go around,” he said. “We are committed to a youth movement. It is a youth movement.”

The Irish denied a likewise youthful Duquesne club its first 4-0 start in nine years.

Tavian Dunn-Martin led the Dukes with 14 points. Fellow sophomore Michael Hughes added 10.

Sophomore Eric Williams Jr. and freshman Sincere Carry, who went into the game averaging a combined 30.3 points, were held to five — all by Williams — and shot a combined 1 of 16 from the field.

“I thought Eric had open looks in the first half, and Sincere just never got it going so we went a different direction,” Duquesne coach Keith Dambrot said. “Obviously, you game plan to take guys away, and Pflueger’s a good defensive player, but Eric had some open looks.

“They played some zone, too, but we’re not going to win many games when Eric goes 1 for 11. No team is going to win when their best player does that.”

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