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Quotes: Duke 70, Clemson 59
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 03/02/2011
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Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski
Opening Statement:
“That was an old-time ACC game out there today. That was a heckuva game. Both teams competed at a really high level. The intensity, the defense from both teams was outstanding. It’s tough to score. I’m really impressed with their team. [Clemson] reminded me so much of how well and how hard Purdue played in the Sweet Sixteen against us. They play really hard and well together. Brad [Brownell]’s a heckuva coach, a really, really good coach. They play the game the right way. It was physical, but clean. We beat a really hungry and good team tonight. That was a great experience for us before we go into the tournaments, to play a game like that and win it. And obviously it was neat to win it with our senior night, but this game wasn’t because of senior night. This game was won because our kids were tough, all of team. Seth [Curry] responded so well after not-a-good performance at Virginia Tech. I thought Ryan [Kelly] in the second half played physical. Mason [Plumlee] with his five blocks was good and our seniors were really good. Again we beat a really good basketball team tonight.”

On the strategy of timeouts called in the first half:
“We can’t simulate their defensive pressure. We don’t have the athletes or the depth to do it. I thought they were just knocking us back. It was like coaching a fighter in a corner when you come to the corner at the end of a round saying, ‘You need to go harder, you need to play tougher, you need to fight through things.’ It wasn’t, ‘Ok, here’s what you need to do on the ball screen, or ‘Watch this cut.’ It was nothing like that. You’re in a fight. In a clean fight; when I say fight I don’t mean anything dirty. It’s just going to be really tough. We adjusted and we got that 11 point lead and then it was like you won a couple rounds then they scored 12 straight points. I thought that was a critical time. I thought they really could have taken control of the game. For us to be up at halftime when we lost that lead ... they came back and knocked us back and I thought we took control and to get the lead at halftime was crucial for us. The second half, I thought we played much better and then there weren’t timeouts like that.”

On Mason Plumlee’s intensity level in the second half:
“He played the whole second half and his blocks. Where earlier in the season, and even not too long ago, he would lose the ball on some of those moves, he actually made a play out of the move. He made a big bucket, that dunk, where he kind of called the play. He saw it and he said, ‘Coach, let’s do that … you know, whatever we call it.’ He saw that and put us up by four. I think it was 50-48 or 52-48. Mason played a heckuva game. Five blocks and he played outstanding defense.”

On Kyle Singler’s performance:
“[Through] his sense of urgency to just keep balls alive or go after balls or knock them off of somebody so that we maintained position, Kyle made a lot of plays. We’re a little bit banged up. Kyle got hit a little bit and [Clemson] went right after Nolan [Smith]. I don’t know how much were’ going to get done tomorrow. Hopefully everyone will be ready to go for Saturday night.”

On the expansion of Kyle Singler’s role through his career:
“Kyle has been … you know, what position does he play, he plays ‘winner.’ Ok I’m going to pick a team. Ok I pick you because I want to win. To average 30 wins a season, these kids, these seniors, have done a lot – they still have a lot to do – even being ranked No. 1. Our program since 1985 has been ranked No. 1 in 15 seasons. That’s more than any other conference. That’s more than any other conference since ’85 as far as having teams in that season ranked No. 1. That’s a heckuva thing to live up to and our kids have to live up to it every day. These kids should be congratulated for the time when it was on their watch, they did it. They were undefeated at home two straight years. Kyle has been the prime guy for that for four years. We went out to eat with the seniors Monday night -- and the senior managers and my family, my daughters and their husbands -- and we just kind of reminisced. They pepper them with questions, my daughters and my wife, more than you guys. I forgot who asked Kyle, ‘Have you ever been afraid?’ And Kyle broke out in that smile and said, ‘No.’ And he wasn’t boastful like, ‘No, I’m never afraid.’ He just kind of smiled and said, ‘No, I always want to be there. I want to be in those situations.’ I just think that as he’s grown as a player, he’s been in more situations. He’s been in enough to be one of the best players ever here. When you look at all the things he’s done, he’s been a winner. That’s the bottom line, he’s a winner.”

On Seth Curry’s performance:
“I think a bad player goes into a funk. A good player says, ‘I played poorly.’ If he goes into a funk, he shouldn’t have a Duke uniform on. This isn’t some middle school, where Johnny had a bad game and Johnny might have another bad game. You have to be a man. Nothing against those middle school kids, they have time to grow up to be men. Seth really responded well. I thought one of the biggest plays of the game was where he hit that three. I think it put us up 58-50. It was after we lost the ball. He didn’t play as good a defense and they scored. He came right down – and that was not an easy three point shot, that was a determined three – he was coming off things and coming through contact better. He had a heckuva game. Seth had a great game tonight.”

On the team going undefeated in Cameron for two consecutive seasons:
“Well it’s why they spend time talking to their teammates – the students – afterwards. We should never take it for granted; we have a special environment here and it’s a special environment not just in games but throughout the year. You always feel like you’re in a place that expects to win and puts everything out there to win. The guys are really proud of not losing the last two years in Cameron. I don’t know their total record. I think they’ve lost a couple times in Cameron, that’s it. That says a lot for our fans, too, and how they support us. It’s a good night because we beat a really good team and we ended their home careers right now on a very positive note.”

Duke Senior Nolan Smith
“They were pressing and denying the ball, and they really sped us up.  There were those times when we slowed it down and got good shots, and that’s what we should’ve done the whole game.  They really played physical and defended us.  We felt good [at halftime].  We knew it was going to be a fight for 40 minutes, but we missed layups and did a lot of things that we normally don’t do.  In the second half, we wanted to make those adjustments and we did for a long enough time to end the game.” 

On Seth Curry bouncing back after the Virginia Tech game:
“It’s huge when he plays like [he did tonight]. We want to keep giving him as much confidence as possible because we know he can fill it up.  He’s doing a great job on the defensive end as well.  Whenever you go into an environment like [Virginia Tech], if I were to go to Louisville and play, it’d be the same.  There are definitely some emotions, and you want to play well.”

On having played his last game in Cameron:
“It definitely has hit me.  I held it in pretty well as I was talking [to the fans in Cameron after the game], but it hit me once I came back to the locker room.  It’s sad – we don’t get to play in front of great fans in Cameron under the banners.  It hurts…I get to tell my kids one day that my last basket in here was a dunk, so it was good.”

On his relationship with fellow senior Kyle Singler:
“We came in together and we’ve been through so much.  He’s watched me grow, and I’ve spent a lot of time following his lead and seeing how hard he fights and plays.  Now for us to both be having outstanding senior years and be going out together, that means a lot to me.  He’s been my brother.”

On Saturday’s matchup against North Carolina:
“It’s going to be a great setting.  I’m excited for that already.  They’re a team that had us beat in the first half [of the first meeting], so we’re going to have to be sharp and be ready to play.  We’re going into their house now, so we’re going to have to take the fight to them.”

Duke Senior Kyle Singler
“They were playing physical and they had strong and active hands.  We just weren’t very strong with the ball, didn’t value it very well, and just turned the ball over.  [The inside game] was big.  Just battling for loose balls, they got a few and we got a few, but I think, for the most part, we did a decent job of that.”

On playing his last game in Cameron:
“At times you think about this being your last time playing here, but I wasn’t taken aback from it and I didn’t hold anything back.  If anything, I pushed more to do stuff.”

On using this game to help move toward the post season mindset:
“You do want to play well and kind of gain momentum from that.  You do kind of have a feeling of winning is the bottom line.  We’ve been trying to do our best throughout the whole season, but this is the time where we have to show it with our play.”

Duke Sophomore Seth Curry
“We just played a lot tougher in the second half.  In the first half they were making all the tough plays and wound up getting most of the 50/50 balls and stuff like that, so we knew we were in a dogfight.  Clemson’s a great team.  They fight you and they play hard the whole game, so we had to match that intensity and we finally did that in the second half and we were able to get a lead.”

On moving toward the post season mindset:
“From day one, that’s Coach’s mindset – every game is the most important game of the year.  And we’re going to play like that.  I guess that’s the way he coaches because he wants to prepare us for this time of the year.  We’re ready for that and we know what’s at stake every game.”

On Saturday’s matchup against North Carolina:
“Starting tomorrow, we have to come to practice with a new mindset and prepare for that game.  We have to start with that tough mindset going on the road.  We can’t ease into the game like we did tonight.  We’ve got to come in ready to fight right away because in a road environment, it’s going to be a lot tougher.”

“It means a lot to come in here and help this team get a win when I’m coming off my worst game of my career.  I had a lot people who gave me words of wisdom, and a lot of people had my back after that game and just told me to bounce back.”

Clemson Head Coach Brad Brownell
On missed shots from three and around the basket:
“You want both. Certainly ones around the basket we have to finish better and you just have to make more of those, and we didn’t quite get that done.”

On playing full-court man defense the whole game:
“We full-court man just about every game, and it’s not always trapping or anything like that. We aren’t really trapping very much, but we picked up full-court to try and put some pressure on teams and to try and play aggressively.”

On forcing a season-high 20 turnovers for Duke:
“We have done a decent job this year of creating some turnovers; unfortunately we needed more points off turnovers. We had 19, which is pretty good. Like I said I am very pleased with our defensive effort; we played as well defensively as we could play in this game, but you’ve got to make shots to win.”

On overcoming a point deficit:
“I thought we showed good poise and resiliency, and we were down in the first half, you know teter-tottering there a little bit. We could have been knocked out early and everyone was kind of expecting that, I think, and we battled right back. Then in the second half, we got down eight and we came right back again. We might have ran out of gas a little bit too. Demontez Stitt had 36 minutes, and Andre Young had 35, and that’s hard when Demontez is not feeling very well and he wasn’t 100 percent out there tonight, but he gave us everything he had.”

On the team being able to hang in against opponents:
“If you have followed our team, we have done this every night. The one thing I can say about our team is that since the conference started, we haven’t had a bad night, ever. Every game has been if you follow our team, with three minutes to go, we got a chance to win. We have lost a lot of road games close – this one was 11 and Carolina was 10 – but both games felt like we were in the game, late in the game. Our team has shown great resiliency. I hear a lot about other teams having eight scholarships; we’ve had nine scholarships all year. We’ve had guys leave and some are playing with a new coach. I don’t think enough has been made of what my guys have been able to accomplish and overcome: a new system, new coaching, nine scholarship players, practicing against coaches, walk-ons, students, managers, grabbing a football player. This is the first time I have ever mentioned it, so damnit I want someone to write something about how hard our team played. I’m tired of reading about everybody else in the league.”

On how much he pays attention to the NCAA selection news:
“I haven’t paid much attention to the last week. Last week, certainly I paid attention because of how close we are and where we are. You know it’s just like I told our team, our guys are down because they came here wanting to win, but anybody that’s on a selection committee that watched our game tonight would think we look like a team that could be in the tournament. We know we have work to do. We can’t feel sorry for ourselves. We’ve got to bounce back in the next 48 hours to play a very motivated Virginia Tech team.”
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