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Quotes: Duke 73, North Carolina 68
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 02/14/2013
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Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski
Opening Statement:
“I just thought both teams played the way Duke and North Carolina teams play. They play so hard, and we did too. They started a different lineup and they really went away from the all the stuff they usually do in really trying to run it down our throats. Putting [Reggie] Bullock at the four, I mean those two kids, Bullock and [P.J.] Hairston are two of the best shooters in the country, and they put a lot of pressure on you. And then [James Michael] McAdoo, they are good. I think they are really good, and they are deep, and they’re deeper than we are, so you worry about attrition. The pace of the game and the fouls, we just made some dumb fouls and got ourselves into a lot of foul trouble, you know our guys had to play with foul trouble. We turned it over more than we have the entire year, and with 11 first half turnovers, half of their points came off turnovers. We started the half, and Mason [Plumlee] got his third and we were down 38-31 and I subbed for Mason, I thought he was playing like he had three fouls. I thought McAdoo was just going at him, so McAdoo was either going to score or Mason was going to foul him. So we took him out, and Hairston and Thornton really did a great job for us. I think the hero of the game for us was [Tyler] Thornton. He would not let us lose. He was guarding the four, he hit a big three, and his pass to Quinn in the full court, knocked it out one time, didn’t get the rebound but knocked it out so we got an extra possession. Just a terrific performance by Tyler Thornton. He got those threes, he and Rasheed [Sulaimon] and Seth [Curry], and then Seth hit another three, but down the stretch we hit every free throw. Our guys have been so good at end of game situations to step up and hit, there is a lot of game pressure, and I know they are tired. We couldn’t sub as much, we don’t have that many players. But a terrific win. The crowd was great, it’s just a great win for us, I am really proud of the grit my teams showed tonight.”

On Rasheed Sulaimon:
“He has been pretty good. In this venue, when it’s your first Duke – North Carolina game to do it makes it a little more impressive. He is good, but every once in a while he goes to being a freshman like at Boston college, and I think that is going to happen but tonight he did a great job. He was exhausted, and usually an upperclassman can work through tired better, but he was able to kind of learn that tonight, to work through being tired.”

On the performance of Tyler Thornton:
“Tyler is going to be a coach one day. He really understands the game, and that is why early on in the season when Ryan was playing and Tyler and Quinn [Cook] were in the game, Tyler can orchestrate things defensively and offensively without having the ball. With Tyler, Quinn and Ryan out there, you really have a smart basketball team. He knows the game and he knows every position, he can tell guys what to do and they will listen because he is one of our leaders, so yeah he pays attention. He has earned his scholarship tonight.”

“[Tyler Thornton] is just a winner; he is a really tough kid. Sometimes his toughness gets the best of him, you know, I like him because he can get angry. I don’t think players get angry like they used to, and that comes easy for me. But I think anger is an emotion that gets you passed being tired and gets you past a lot of things. If anger destroys something bad, it’s good. If it destroys some good than it’s bad. His anger, his competitive was really good for us tonight and it has been overall.”

On Quinn Cook:
“He has had some big games; he is one of our best shooters. It’s difficult for a point guard to be that good of a shooter because they are running everything, they’re putting pressure on the ball and a lot of times when they give up the ball they kind of relax. And what we’ve been working on is once he gives up the ball to put himself in a position where he is ready to take a shot, and at end of games he has been a great free throw shooter. He turned it over a little bit too much tonight, especially in out of bounds situations, but they were also playing well, it’s not like we played a team that didn’t play their butts off. I thought Carolina played really hard and well.”

On his team’s grit:
“I do think [the grit] was at the highest level tonight because of the circumstances. A lot of time in these games you get worn out quickly because it is a nine o’clock game. The emotion, you come here and we got knocked back with their quickness and at halftime I was just worried that we ran out of gas, but that is where the grit, it came out and you kind  of forgot about being tired. I am sure both teams are tired. We are really tired because we don’t have as many guys. I like my guys, but in a game like that you worry about foul trouble and fatigue. And we were able to have the discipline to stay in the game with foul trouble, and had enough toughness to get through the fatigue.”

Duke Senior Mason Plumlee
“Coach [Mike Krzyzewski] said at halftime we had one assist.  We had to get the ball moving.  We aren’t a one-on-one team, so we have to work together and get guys open, set screens, and execute, and I thought we did a better job of that in the second half.”

“This game is so different than any other game.  You have chills before the game.  It’s crazy, so you almost have to catch your breath after that first wind and just kind of settle in to the game.”

On beating North Carolina in his last career matchup against them in Cameron:
“It feels great.  I want to beat everybody my last game at Cameron.  I tell myself that every game.  I thought this was a total team win tonight.  No one guy really played great, but together we pulled it out.”

“It means a lot.  More importantly, I think this team has a chance to do something special.  I think the season is wide open in the college basketball landscape.  I’m not going to have any regrets at the end of the season.”

After being told that Duke shot 13-for-14 from the foul line in the second half:
“That’s really good.  We’ve been shooting well from the line.  I shoot the most on our team, but Rasheed [Sulaimon] stepped up and knocked them down, Quinn [Cook] knocked them down.  Quinn’s always been great in late game at the free throw line.  He did that in the Bahamas, and he’s done that in a lot of close games.”

Duke Sophomore Quinn Cook
“We were a little stagnant in the beginning.  We weren’t running our offense and we weren’t being sharp and screening.  Coach got on us at halftime about being sharp, setting screens and just shooting our shots.  Rasheed [Sulaimon] got it going with the transition three, Tyler [Thornton] hit three big three’s, Seth [Curry] got it going, and Mason [Plumlee] was the nasty player of the year again tonight.  He kind of put us on his back at the end of the game – he hit some free throws, hit some big jump hooks.  When we all step up, we’re a great team.”

“They were playing great defense, and we weren’t sharp at all.  They’re very physical.  They’re a good team.  We wanted to just get it going, run our stuff, and be sharp, and I think we did that.”

On the hype and intensity leading up the start of the game:
“It’s hard.  You have so much adrenaline and it’s so tiring, but you have to fight through it.  You can’t have that as an excuse.  We all were a little fatigued out there, but we wanted to fight.  We couldn’t let this one get away from us.  They’re a great team, and I know it’ll be a great game when we play them again.”

Duke Freshman Rasheed Sulaimon
“I have no more excuses.  It’s February now and I’m not a freshman anymore.  I’ve got to step up and help my teammates out.  The great thing about this team and this coaching staff is they have confidence in me and they have the belief in me that I can do it.   And if they believe in me, why shouldn’t I?  I’m just ready.”

On Duke’s adjustments in the second half:
“We just had to fight them off the boards, keep them from second-chance points, and stop their transition.  We did a lot better job on the defensive boards in the second half.  They still got some points in transition, but we limited it a lot more than we did in the first half, and I think that was the big difference in the game.”

“It was crazy.  The atmosphere in there was insane.  It was so loud in there, and we needed every bit of the fans tonight.  We were dog-tired out there, we gave it our all, we sacrificed our bodies, each and every one of us did, and just the energy from the crowd helped us and propelled us to keep pushing and fighting to win for them.”

“Carolina’s a very talented team.  Regardless of what their record might say, I believe they can match up with anyone in the country.  They have a lot of size, they have a lot of talent, and a lot of good players.  We knew it was going to be a dogfight – it’s the best rivalry in sports.  No matter what the record is on each side, the game’s going to be a hard-fought one, and we knew that coming in.  They kind of threw the first punch, but that just shows a lot of character from this team.  No matter how far we’re down, we’re going to believe in each other, we’re going fight together and try to gnaw and scratch and do whatever it takes to get back to the top and win.”

On his key three-pointer in the second half:
“It was just kind of an instinct thing.  Quinn [Cook] was pushing the ball and I kind of had an opening, and when he passed it to me, as he was passing it, I saw on his face he said, ‘Shoot it.  Make it!”  As soon as I caught, I just shot it with confidence, and I was very fortunate that it went it.”

North Carolina Head Coach Roy Williams
Opening Statement:
“Well I was extremely disappointed to say the least, but I am not disappointed in the effort of our team. The intensity tonight was better than it has been all year long, but Duke gets that from everybody. You have to congratulate them. They made 13 of 14 free throws in the second half. We needed them to miss a couple of those to say the least. We needed to make a couple of ours. That is just picking one thing out. I think the biggest plays in the second half were when [Tyler] Thornton hit a couple of big threes. We weren’t supposed be helping guard the ball and not sag back into help. He hit two open threes and one of them came off of an offensive rebound. We were still right there, get them to miss a shot. I thought it was going to be a shot clock violation, but he called a foul. It probably was a foul. I think it was a four-point game at that time. It put them on the free throw line, instead of it being our ball down four. It was our ball down six. I was really pleased with our effort tonight. As I said in the first comment, it was by far the best we have had this year. We didn’t shoot the ball very well. I really think we are a good shooting team. PJ [Hairston] has been shooting the ball really well from the three point line. He was 1-for-7. Leslie [McDonald] was 0-for-3. Both of them are good shooters. You have to congratulate Duke’s perimeter defense, because they made the shots covered. They made it more difficult. I am not into moral victories, I told them that in the locker room, but I am pleased with the effort they gave. Congratulate Duke, there is a reason why they are No. 1 in the country, because they are really good. They got off to a great start this year playing the most difficult schedule in the country and they played great when Ryan [Kelly] went down. For two or three games they were all out of whack, but they have been playing great lately. We will get a chance to play them again. Hopefully we play a little better and they play a little worse.”

On his decision to change starting lineup:
“I started to do it four or five games ago, but everybody is going to say you are going to put PJ [Hairston] in for somebody else. Nobody else knows my team better. It is popular to say that somebody else is supposed to be in the lineup. For us, he is such a good scorer and Duke’s four man Amile Jefferson and Josh Hairston is not a focal point of their offense. They are a three-point shooting team and they throw the ball inside to Mason [Plumlee]. We hoped that PJ would be able to battle and guard inside. He did fine with that. They got a couple of offensive rebounds just on reach and Mason was able to cross the lane two times with that big jump hook. We don’t have the size to defend anything like that. As I said, we started to make that change four or five games ago. I may start five different guys Saturday.”

On what the team can take away for the rest of season:
“I hope they realize how much they invested and that it was also a battle. It is still a loss, as I said I am not into moral victories. It was there for the taking. They invested more and got more out of it.”

On matchup problems when Duke went to four guards in second half:
“In my opinion it is not a matchup problem. Their guys made big plays. If you go back and look at it we helped on the drive attack. Thornton made two threes from the right side. It might have been three. One of those was a bad box out. We got them to miss the first shot and I am going to guess it was [Rasheed] Sulaimon ran all the way across the court and got the rebound right in front of their bench. It wasn’t really a matchup problem, because we were small also. PJ was probably the guy that would guard Tyler at that time. We had one big guy and they had one big guy, Josh Hairston, at that time. Like I said, you have to congratulate them. They made some big shots.”

On his starters’ minutes:
“I was trying to win the daggum game. I don’t make decisions based on how many minutes a guy has played. I am going to play the guys that I want at that specific time. I may play five guys 40 minutes Saturday, I don’t know or 12 guys in the first half. We didn’t have Joel [James]. Desmond [Hubert] came in and played a couple of minutes in the first half and played well defensively.”