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Notre Dame hands DePaul first loss

The Blue Demons had no answer for anything the Fighting Irish threw at them in the second half.

NCAA Basketball: DePaul at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The dream of a 40-0 DePaul Blue Demons season came to a screeching halt Saturday afternoon in South Bend when the Notre Dame Fighting Irish handed DePaul a 95-70 loss.

The 25-point loss was as ugly as it seemed on the surface, as DePaul let the second half get out of hand with Notre Dame holding a 54-36 advantage over the final 20 minutes. DePaul hit just two threes in the second half to Notre Dame’s seven.

The Blue Demons were competitive for most of the first half, as the teams traded the lead and were tied for a while before Notre Dame took a three point lead into the locker room. Max Strus struggled to get going offensively in the first 20 minutes, leading many to believe he would get adjusted in the second half and come out strong. He did not. He finished with 15 points on 14 shots as he reverted to old inefficient habits of last season after looking to be past those habits so far this season. Eli Cain also struggled to get anything going, finishing the night with 11 points.

Four Fighting Irish players had at least 15 points, as Rex Pflueger led the way with 20. Pflueger missed just one shot from the field (6-7) and connected on all of his three-pointers (4-4). TJ Gibbs, younger brother of former Seton Hall star Sterling Gibbs, had 18, and Prentiss Hubb and Nate Laszewski had 15 each in the trampling.

DePaul falls to 3-1 and returns home to face Cleveland State on Wednesday.