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Quotes: Duke 76, Elon 54
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 12/20/2012
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Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski

Opening Statement:

“I thought our team played mentally tired. You could see it in our faces. They are a really good basketball team because they run good stuff, and they do a nice job with their team. I just thought it was hard for our guys. It has been a heck of a first part of the season – exams, two games in a row. I thought we really needed a break. We need a break. Thank goodness our defense played so well. Again, 10 assists and 17 turnovers by our opponents. Tyler [Thornton] not only gave us a spark with the threes, but just with his defense. He and Quinn [Cook] kind of gave us a verve, and Mason [Plumlee’s] offensive rebounding. It is ironic, yesterday I think we were talking about point guard defensive rebounding and Quinn ends up being our second leading rebounder today with seven defensive rebounds. Overall, it was a good game for us because you are fighting human nature and the other team, and we won in both cases. The season is not going to be a perfect one, and I am proud that we kept playing defense and you have to just muck things up for a while and then all of a sudden we got that spurt. We were missing some really wide open shots, and then Tyler hit those two and it just kind of exploded. I am anxious for them to get home, away from it, and then come back refreshed ready to charge on.”

On his team’s defense:

“I think our defense has been good the whole year. We don’t give up any easy shots. That is why we are not assisted a lot. I don’t follow all of our stats over the years; it’s been too many years, but I would have to think this is one of the least assisted upon teams. It’s a new stat. We will figure that out…A lot of the games there are single-digits assists, and today there are 10 and then there are more turnovers than assists. I like that about our team. I think we have played really hard on the defensive end even though at times, like especially tonight we weren’t sharp on the offensive end, but you have to give credit to them. They are playing hard. They are playing good defense, and then we just had that spurt.”

On the importance of the break:

“We have been a really good basketball team – that is what I told our guys. Tonight is about looking at the last 11 games, not looking at one game and are we proud of that? We are very proud of that. What can we do better? We know what we can do better individually and collectively, but the main thing we can do better is get refreshed. It is a long year, and when you are ranked as high as you are now, there is more. Our guys have handled things just great. I am proud of them, I love them, and I am glad we are 11-0, and I am glad they are going to be with their families, I am going to be with my family, and then we are going to come back and play Santa Clara and get going.”

On Marshall Plumlee’s injury:

“He is always in a boot, except when he is playing just to keep pressure off the stress fracture, but that is not what he hurt. He had a sprain in his foot, and we didn’t want to try to play him with that which might do something with the body mechanics to hurt the foot. So there is no need to do it. Give him some rest, and bring him back when we come back on the 26th.”

On the team’s No. 1 ranking:

“I don’t think it is pressure, I think it is such an honor to be ranked No. 1. So many teams would like to do that. In the last 25 years we have been ranked No. 1 more times in a season than any conference, forget about any team. It is a lot. People can say games that we have lost when we are No. 1, but how many have we played when we have been No. 1? What is the record of people when they are No. 1? We have played over 200 games as the No. 1 team in the country. You are going to lose some games, but how many did you win? And how long did you stay [No. 1]? It’s not an accomplishment – it is an honor. It is a position. We are honored to be in there. We want to be No. 1 whenever we can be, but we don’t put a banner up for being No. 1 in December. You put a banner up when you are No. 1 at the end.”

On the continued success of the program:

“We have run a good program. We are one of the best programs ever. To be able to say that over the past three decades, I am proud of that. It is called sustained excellence, and that is what we want to do. To me that is tougher than attaining excellence once. At times we have had interruptions – in the mid-90’s we had two seasons of interruption and for us to be able to come back, that has been  really good. It is because I have good guys. I have really good guys. I have had good guys, we are going to keep trying to recruit good guys, and those good guys can really play, and they would like to play together, so I have good character guys over the years. Not just good players, but good character guys.”

Senior Mason Plumlee:

On the points of emphasis coming into tonight’s game:

“One was the boards.  We haven’t been good on the boards, and that was one thing that we did better tonight.  That can’t just be one game.  We’ve got to make a habit of it.  It wasn’t great but it was good.”

On Quinn Cook’s eight-rebound performance:

“It’s great when he gets them because then we’re a lot faster in transition.  And that’s good because Coach [Mike Krzyzewski] has been pushing him to get in there on the defensive boards.  We need guys to get up above five boards a game, whoever it is.  It doesn’t matter who it is, but we need guys getting six, seven rebounds.”

“I love [being a leader].  I really do.  And if I can take it to another level, I think it’ll open up stuff.  We have such good shooters.  I think they doubled a couple of times tonight, but if we can get teams to have to double me, it’ll really open up just easy, open threes for our guys.”

On this Duke team’s chemistry:

“It’s been great.  With this team, the focus has been winning ever since this summer in pick-up.  It wasn’t about who was scoring in pick-up; it was about which team won.  Even when you’re talking trash to each other, it’s not about, ‘I had this many points.’  It’s about, ‘My team beat your team.’  That’s carried over from the summer to now, and I think it’s clear when you watch us play that our chemistry is a lot better.  That’s just the mentality of everybody here.”

Senior Ryan Kelly:

“[In the first half] we were not shooting great shots, and we weren’t really running the plays well.  With that you saw what we did.  In the second half, we just did what we were told, honestly.  We made the right plays, made smart plays, and got open looks.”

On playing back-to-back games last night and tonight:

 “It’s a good test, early in the season, playing two well-coached, well-rounded teams.  And it’s good to go into a break coming off two wins like that and kind of get mentally refreshed.  This has been a long stretch and a tough stretch for us, and now that it’s over we can kind of take a breath for a few days and then get right back at it.”

On Quinn Cook’s long three-pointer at the end of the first half:

 “That was a big play.  Whenever you can go into a half with a play like that, it obviously energizes you.  We felt like we didn’t play – especially offensively – as well as we could have in the first half.  Our defense was there, for the most part, for the whole game.”

“We’ve got a couple of tough ones before the conference schedule, but this is certainly a time to take a breath, re-energize and spend time with our families.  And then we’ll be right back at it.  We know that things aren’t perfect right now, and we’ve got to keep getting better.  But that’s honestly kind of an exciting and cool thing, to know that we’re 11-0 right now, and we feel like we have a long way to go to be where we want to be in the end.”

Sophomore Quinn Cook:

On having eight rebounds in the game:

 “I just wanted to help out Mason [Plumlee] and Ryan [Kelly] and Josh [Hairston] down there.  We rely on them a lot to get rebounds, so I just wanted to help them out.”

“We go to the break 11-0, we’ve played 11 great teams, and I feel like we’ve executed all the game plans that Coach wanted.  Today wasn’t the prettiest win, but we picked it up in the second half against a great Elon team.  So we go into the holiday break with a good vibe.”

“We can get better everywhere, especially rebounding and just staying sharp for 40 minutes.  There are always ways to improve, and Coach [Mike Krzyzewski] will definitely find ways to help us get better.”

Elon Head Coach Matt Matheny

Opening Statement:

“We were faced with a daunting task, which is exactly what we wanted when we were fortunate to schedule the game.  We knew that. We had a tough loss Saturday up in Springfield against UMass. I was very happy with the way we practiced leading up to tonight’s game. I felt like we competed for 40 minutes. When you play a team as good as Duke and in this building quite a few times, you are challenged on every possession. Not only does Duke have very talented players, but they play every possession like it the most important possession. That is what we are striving for in our program. I thought we did that for most of the first half, but we had a couple of lapses in the second half which is particularly seen in the way we gave up offensive rebounds in the second half. That allowed the spread to get away from us. We did compete, we hoped for a better result and Duke is very good.”

On Lucas Troutman having to sit in the first half:

“It definitely hurt and he picked up his second foul with 13 minutes to go in the first half. We have gotten to the point where we will play some veteran guys with two fouls, but the game was close. So I didn’t use him. It was a five-point game; we had the ball holding for one. We probably started our play a little too early and they got the bust out, long shot to make it eight and also get momentum. If it would have been five, I would have felt really good at the half. Being eight it wasn’t that big of a difference. It made a huge difference because now we are playing with younger guys in a really tough environment. Mason Plumlee’s improvement in a year’s time is extraordinary. He has done a tremendously good job of developing into a really, really good college player.”

On the team’s mindset heading into halftime:

“It seems like they always make the halftime buzzer shot. Yea I did. That is why we didn’t use Ryley [Beaumont] after he got his second and we didn’t use Lucas [Troutman] after he got his second. Our guys competed. I felt pretty good.”

On Duke’s performance:

“They do as good of a job as anybody I have prepared against and have for years at hedging screens and forcing you way out. I thought our guys did a good job of reading that as the game went on. We got a lot of slips and rolls to try to counteract that. They do a really good job of that.”

On his team’s performance:

“I like the growth of our program. I like the growth of this team. What I told them in the locker room after the game was that we have the chance to be special. We were challenged tonight on every possession and we answered the bell on a lot of those possessions. In order to compete on this level on a consistent basis, we have to learn that every possession matters. We are still learning that. It is a long season. We are in the Southern Conference and we want to be as good as we can be in the Southern Conference and be a very difficult team to knock off in March as the Southern Conference Tournament rolls around.”

On his postgame message:

“Very similar to the pregame message. Great opportunity for us to compete at the very highest level. There is no grander stage than Cameron Indoor against the No. 1 team. At halftime, we talked a lot about we can fight and we can get this. That is a great feeling because we haven’t had that in the growth of our program. Here we are on the road against No. 1 saying let’s win this game. Our guys were believing that, so that postgame message was that we believed it because it was true. It was true that we could compete at this level. Now in order to do it you have to do it all the time.”