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Quotes: Duke 85, Virginia Tech 57
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 03/05/2013
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Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski
Opening Statement:
“First, it’s been a heck of a time since last Thursday night, such an emotional time. I’m so proud of my seniors. They’ve been absolutely amazing in their four years here, to be a part of 120 wins and championships and how they’ve gone through this year where one of them has played hurt the entire year and one was out for 13 games and is coming back. They’ve been great. I’m glad they were recognized so well and they got a chance to go out and thank our fans. Tonight’s game was a difficult one for us. I think we’re emotionally spent, with the February we had and these last six days. We’re not as physically spent as we are emotionally. It’s been a heck of a thing. Even tonight, our fans have been great, [but] you could tell even the fans were a little bit emotionally spent from Saturday … Proud of our guys. I thought the three seniors just asserted themselves in that second half. Mason [Plumlee] was a bull inside. Ryan [Kelly], he’s playing a lot of minutes without being in condition and Seth [Curry]’s two three’s kind of got us going. And [Virginia Tech] came ready to play, which is a tribute to them. They’ve won two of their last three and they should be proud of that. They haven’t hung their heads in the attack phase. They came in and it was a three-point at half, six with I don’t know how much to go, and they’re right there. So I respect that. That’s part of being in a great league where people don’t give up and they play every ball game. Certainly Virginia Tech did that tonight.”

On what the team’s three seniors have meant to the program over the last four years:
“It is unique and it makes you remember the times where that was always the case. There’s no question that it’s not just becoming a better basketball player – they become men. They’re going to graduate from Duke. They’re great students, they’re older, they get it. As this goes on over the four years you’re in a program, you’re going to learn more your third and fourth year more because you can receive more. These guys are sponges and they wanted it. My daughter, wife and I always take our seniors out to eat – our senior managers and players – and we had a really nice time last night. You’re just sitting at the table and you’re saying, ‘How did you get this lucky to be with these people who are just the best?’ Believe me, I cherish the time.”

On what Seth Curry has accomplished despite playing with an injury all season:
“I have nothing to compare it to. All that I know is in the middle of September, we were told that he might not be able to play this year. His parents and Seth and our medical people took a course of action to really attack the injury and come up with a plan and a test and then move along. It’s incredible, really. The thing is his leg has gotten better. It’s incredible.”

On the defensive game plan for Virginia Tech’s Erick Green:
“Obviously we didn’t have one because he was great tonight. We had a hard time in the first half defending the ball screen. In the second half, we were a lot better. But he’s a great player and a terrific kid. He’s led that team and he hasn’t had all the resources around him, and he still puts up those numbers. Just a terrific performance all year by Erick.”

On what the team changed defensively to limit Virginia Tech in the final 10 minutes:
“We made a little bit of an adjustment to the ball screen. We just defended the ball screen better. When you’re watching the game, you’re saying, ‘They’re not defending the ball screen.’ Well obviously we’re not defending the ball screen. It’s not our game plan to defend the ball screen. They’re human beings and they finally defended the ball screen. They’re supposed to defend the ball screen. And they defensive rebounded. I think we were beaten on the boards in the first half. And in the second half we rebounded better. And when we rebound defensively, that’s where you get that differential because we’re a smaller team. Even with Ryan in there, we’re smaller on the perimeter. So they have to rebound. We took good care of the ball. It’s one of those games where we had four turnovers, so we did a good job of that.”

On being undefeated at home for the third time in four years:
“We’re one of the really good programs. It’s really difficult, obviously, to win every game at home with the schedule that you play. You have to play conference games that you could lose to anybody. And with certain teams that we bring in here – we played Ohio State here. A lot of people don’t give credit to these some of other teams that we play, but that’s why we have the strength of schedule and the RPI that we do, because we play such a difficult schedule. It’s a real tribute to our team, that they were able to do that.”

On the play of freshman Rasheed Sulaimon recently:
“He’s a freshman. It’s the 30th game and there’s a lot of pressure on him. He just didn’t have any spunk tonight. He didn’t have a motor tonight. At the end of the game, he got a couple of really good plays, which hopefully will propel him … He’s been a terrific kid for us all year.”

Duke Senior Ryan Kelly
On Duke’s rebounding focus:
“That’s a point of emphasis for us, period.  Rebounding is obviously something that, in the past, hasn’t been our greatest strength.  If you can take your lesser strengths and make them bigger strengths, you can be a really good team.”

On Duke’s strong second half:
“First of all, we picked up our defense, especially our ball screen defense, and made it hard for guys to get into the lane.  It’s amazing – when our defense picks up, our offense picks up almost immediately.  That has to be something we learn from.  We’ve seen it in the past, and we have to continue to have that.”

On his conditioning and how he views his progress in his return:
“That’s only going to come with time.  I’ve really only had one and a half full practices, and then obviously being in a game is a completely different thing, too.  I was doing my best to go 100% all the time, and if I got tired either ask to be taken out or get taken out and go right back in.”

On how he prepared for his final game at Cameron:
“It was a strange feeling.  I normally get here two and a half hours before to start all my therapy and things, and I was sitting there trying not to think about what it was going to be when it was over.  I wanted to sound decent when I did my speech, but I didn’t want to think about it because I wanted to think about the game.  So it’s very strange, full of mixed emotions right before the game starts, but once you get out there those all go away and you just play basketball.”

Duke Senior Mason Plumlee
On Duke’s rebounding focus:
“That’s the last time we’ll play at Cameron.  Even like the warm-up songs, I was just taking in each one because our band is so good.  We won’t have that feeling as a player again.  It’s hard [to focus] until you realize you’re about to lose or it’s possible you could lose.  At halftime I think we got our heads on straight.”

On Duke’s second half improvement:
“We just weren’t containing the ball very well.  Whether it be the ball screen or just straight-line drives, we weren’t keeping guys in front.  We did a better job of that in the second half.”

On having Ryan Kelly back in the Duke lineup:
“I think it’s feeling good.  Ryan had like five assists tonight – that’s great.  And he’s always efficient from the floor, so he’s fitting in so well.  I was wondering if there was going to be a hangover game after the Miami [win] because that can happen after not having played.  But he just came right back and was just solid.”

Duke Senior Seth Curry
On Virginia Tech’s defensive game plan against him tonight:
“They made it a little tougher on me than last time.  When my teammates are threats, that allows me to get better shots.  I think [Virginia Tech] definitely had different type of game plan for me this game, but I got good looks.”

On playing his final game at Cameron:
“It’s huge.  You have a different type of emotion coming into the game.  You want to play well really badly.  You don’t want to be nostalgic and think about it being your last game, but you can’t help it.  I think that’s why we got off to a slow start, but we were able to settle down and play better later in the game.”

On Saturday’s matchup against North Carolina:
“I haven’t really thought about it.  I’ve been more focused on [Virginia Tech], but we’ll take a look at it tomorrow and we’ll get ready.  They’re playing well and we’re playing well, so it should be a good game.”

Virginia Tech Head Coach James Johnson
Opening Statement:
“I’m proud of the guys. Our effort tonight was good for about 30-32 minutes. We came out ready to play in the first half, we just weren’t able to make the plays down the stretch that we needed to make. We missed free throws, and we had the game at a point I think we were right there in the game with a chance to be there and have an opportunity to win the game, but we didn’t make the plays. I think their size, their physicality wore us down in the second half and we just weren’t able to capitalize.”

On Defending Seth Curry:
“No breakdown, it was the same thing he did at home. We were there, coming behind those screens, and he was shooting behind them, just made tough plays. He made tough plays. He’s tough. He’s shooting those things deep, I mean, behind those screens, and he’s good enough to where if we come out at him hard, he can put the ball on the floor. We stayed with him a little bit and he’s smart, he’ll pause, but he’s shooting behind those screens from deep.”

On Defending the Three-Point Shot:
“We did a decent job, I thought we were there one a lot of those three’s, and they made some tough shots. I can’t remember, and I’ll have to watch the tape, but I can’t remember any that were wide open, but those guys are good enough that they can make shots when we are there defensively, we’ve got a hand in their face and they are still able to make shots, and Curry makes big shots. I thought in a 2-3 zone, they may have hit a couple, but we had to go to a zone because of foul trouble and to give ourselves just a little bit of a breather inside, and I thought they had a couple clean looks in the zone that we probably could’ve tightened up a little bit, but other than that I thought we did a decent job defending them. They just have good guards who can knock them down.”

On Duke’s Second Half Run:
“I think rebounding they overtook us inside with their post guys. I think they really did a good job on the glass from then on out. We missed free throws there, our guys stepped up and had a chance to make some free throws and keep the pressure on them, but we missed a couple free throws, we missed a layup, a point blank layup right there, and you just can’t do that against a good team like this. You’re on the road in a hostile environment on Senior Night, you’ve got to make those plays if you’re going to be a winner.”

On Mentality Entering Game:
“We talked about being in attack mode the whole time. Starting out, when you play Duke you know they’re going to be aggressive, you know they’re going to be up in your shirt, and pressuring the basketball and you’ve got to be able to put the ball on the floor and be able to drive and I thought in the first half we did a good job of attacking the basket, but in the second half, I thought we got in there a couple of times, didn’t make the plays. As the game went on, I thought we got tired, I thought our legs got twisted a little bit, but that’s due to them, they made us work for everything.”

On Finishing Games:
“The effort was there, and we talked about it. We were a better team than what played in Blacksburg in the first game, and we wanted to come out and show that we were a better team, but we’re not in it for moral victories, we had opportunities to win this game tonight, and we talked about it. We’ve got to find ways to finish games, whether we get tired down the stretch, whether they do try to pound it inside on us, whether we’re in foul trouble we’ve got to find a way to get guys to make plays.”

On Erick Green Being ACC Scoring Leader:
“No, we haven’t talked about that at all with him all season long. He hasn’t talked about it. He’s playing his game, he’s not forcing anything, trying to get the scoring title.  In fact, sometimes I’d like for him to be more aggressive.”