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Notre Dame boys basketball team drops season opener to Duchesne 63-48
Notre Dame coach Kevin Roberts didn't know what to expect from a starting lineup that featured four sophomores and one junior against a talented and experienced Duchesne squad,
What he saw was a lot of hustle, tenacity, and relentless pressure from his young Bulldogs, but ultimately a 63-48 season-opening loss.
"It kind of shell-shocked them," Roberts said about his young squad. "That's one of the best teams in the state, and they had to come out here their first varsity game and play against that. They didn't look like sophomores once the game got going."
The Bulldogs (0-1) relied on their trademark aggressive defense to counter a horrendous shooting night and hang tough against the Pioneers (1-0).
Duchesne boasted 6-foot-6 Drew Moore and 6-foot-7 Ryan Tune in the post, and the combo paved the way to victory.
"That was the whole goal going in," Duchesne coach Wade Bouslog said. "I didn't know a lot about them because they didn't have anybody back. I knew what they were going to do defensively and we had a little bit of an idea offensively, but weren't sure. We knew we were going to have a size advantage and we wanted to just pound it. I thought we didn't do a very good job of that in the first half, and then when we got the lead in the second half I thought we did a great job."
Moore, a forward, netted a game high 17 points, while Tune added nine.
The Pioneers hit on 7 of 12 shots from the field to take a 17-7 lead in the first quarter.
"I wanted to make sure we put the pressure on those young kids early," Bouslog said. "I thought we did that, and then their kids did a great job responding and getting back in it and hanging tough."
Notre Dame responded with a spirited second quarter. The Bulldogs chipped away and made it 28-23 on a conventional 3-point play from Jordan Williamson and trailed 31-25 at halftime.
Notre Dame's tight defense sent the Pioneers to the line 19 times in the first half.
"We fouled way too much," Roberts said. "But that's being over anxious and getting in there and trying to create something. We just have to be more disciplined on defense, and when that comes we're going to win a lot of games if we can do that."
Notre Dame used its depth -- a 10-man rotation -- to draw closer.
Roberts continuously subbed five fresh players every couple of minutes in an attempt to wear down the Pioneers.
"I've never had a team where I can just go five in and five out," Roberts said. "But I don't think we lose a lot. We're athletic, we're quick, and the guys that I bring off the bench, four of them are seniors so that experience is there. I'm pleased with how everybody is accepting their role and playing extremely well."
Notre Dame trailed 39-31 with less than three minutes remaining in the third when its shots began to fall.
Williamson buried the first Bulldogs' first 3-pointer of the game and Quinn Poythress followed with another trey the next trip down the court to cut the deficit to 39-37.
After each team missed shots on their next two possessions, Notre Dame sophomore Trenton Schumer sent the Bulldogs' student section into a raucous when he buried a 3-pointer to give the Bulldogs a 40-39 lead going into the fourth quarter.
"Their pace of play is different," Bouslog said. "We're kind of used to playing that way against teams and getting up and pressuring and things and not having it done back to us. What it does is it just gets you going. He plays so many kids, and they really play hard and get hands on balls and keep coming at you."
The Bulldogs were 0 of 12 from beyond the arc before Williamson ended the slump with his triple. Notre Dame finished just 3 of 21 (14 percent) from beyond the arc in the game.
"We're much better shooters than what I saw tonight," Roberts said. "What I liked was that even though we didn't make shots, we were still in the game. We were still right there. We didn't turn it over. We guarded well and rebounded well. They just beat us inside in the second half."
Moore scored on a layup about a minute into the fourth quarter to put Duchesne ahead for good at 41-40. The Pioneers then used their size advantage to get to the charity stripe in the fourth.
Notre Dame trimmed the Pioneers lead midway through the fourth to 49-46 on two free throws by Tanner Shively, but Duchesne responded.
Sam Briscoe, who scored 12 of his 13 points in the final quarter, drained the Pioneers' only 3-pointer to extend the lead to 52-46, and Duchesne pulled away at the line.
The Pioneers finished 11 of 12 from the stripe during the fourth quarter.
Notre Dame put 10 players in the scoring column, led by Williamson's eight points.
DUCHESNE (63) -- Nate Friedel 6, Clay Stulce 9, Mike McDonald 6, Doug Swann 3, Drew Moore 17, Sam Briscoe 13, Ryan Tune 9. FG 18. FT 26-38. F 19. (3-pointers: Briscoe. Fouled out: Swann.)
NOTRE DAME (48) -- Cody DeBrock 7, Quinn Poythress 5, Justin Landewee 4, Jordan Williamson 8, Patrick Williamson 2, Luke Mocherman 4, Trenton Schumer 7, Grant Ressel 2, Jordan Barber 7, Tanner Shively 2. FG 16. FT 13-18. F 27. (3-pointers: Poythress, J. Williamson, Schumer. Fouled out: none.)