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Quotes: Duke 73, Ohio State 68
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 11/29/2012
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Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski
Opening Statement:
“We had a great game tonight. Both teams, high caliber play. Ohio State is really good, a veteran team, unbelievably coached, and they play defense as a very physical defense. We had not faced anybody like that. It is also our fourth game in seven days against Minnesota, VCU, Louisville and Ohio State. My guys are unbelievable to win this game. I have unbelievable guys on my team because they beat a heck of a team, but they played four games like that in seven days, and they got knocked back in the first half, and then played great in the second half, and just fought. Mason [Plumlee] has been our leader, and to get 21 [points] and 17 [rebounds] tonight, hardly came out, I think I took him out for 10 seconds, and I thought Ryan [Kelly] had his best game. He was matched up against [Deshaun] Thomas. Thomas is a terrific player, and it was kind of a wash there. Thomas has been dominating his matchups, he has been averaging 25 points a game. I thought Quinn [Cook] really held his own against [Aaron] Craft. Quinn had a great, great game. And our freshman, [Rasheed] Sulaimon had no points at half, and when you play the schedule that we have played, this is not X-Box, fantasy stuff where these guys are healthy. You just played three games, got back Sunday afternoon, and played these guys on Wednesday, that is an effort that is a hell of an effort. For a freshman, I thought he got knocked back, and at halftime, he responded. He had 17 points in the second half, and gave us a verve, gave us a real verve. I am so proud to be coaching this team. This is a really good group, and they beat a really good group. This was a great basketball game.”

On Changes in Offensive Approach in Second Half:
“First of all, just adjusting to the physicality of the game. I thought we were being put in positions that were less advantageous to run good offense, and we ended up fighting better for position, and then we tried to open things up. Instead of ball-screening, we opened up areas to drives, and we got into things a little quicker in the second half. A key thing was just to get Quinn [Cook] to push it more, and to get Rasheed [Sulaimon] an elbow to attack, and that helped us. We missed some good shots in the first half, we missed a few layups and a few open looks.”

On Rasheed Sulaimon’s Second Half Performance:
“I don’t know if a kid is going to respond. I cannot see into people’s eyes. He has great character and with our team, we do not have to build character, we have it. We just have to get it even higher, and for a freshman to respond that way is superb. It just doesn’t happen very often. Sometimes you lose the game, and you spend two days showing tape and you hope they respond the next game, but this kid at halftime said ‘you’re right, I have to do something’ and he was sensational”

On Mason Plumlee’s Development:
“He has always been a really good player, he is just a terrific player now. It is called maturity and learning the game. LeBron James is a better player now than he was seven years ago. If players want to get better, they get better. It is all on him to get better and he has paid the price to get better. Where he is at is primarily on him, he took responsibility for who he was as a player, and who he is going to become as a player, and he is one of the best players in the country. His performance tonight was magnificent.”

On Confidence of Quinn Cook:
“He shot really well from the free throw line. Quinn played a great game. He was up against one of the best point guards in the United States, as good as an on-ball defender as there is, and Quinn had eight assists and three turnovers. An amazing stat for Quinn was the six defensive rebounds, which two of them led to those run-outs…his six defensive rebounds were a key stat in the game. We have a hard time on defensive boards. That has been an area, when we have time to practice we will practice it…Quinn is playing great.”

Duke Senior Mason Plumlee
On Duke’s second half performance:
“I think the biggest thing was that Rasheed [Sulaimon] stepped up.  He was kind of in a lull in the first half, but he played so big in the second half.  I don’t know how many points he had in the second half, but just his aggressiveness [was key].  They were going at our perimeter, and he really responded well out of the half.”

On Duke’s ability to overcome the second half deficit:
“That just shows we found a way to win.  Guys hit big shots.  Ryan [Kelly] hit big shots, Quinn [Cook] hit big free throws.  We always have different guys stepping up.  You can really go after a team that only has one guy stepping up, but we have a lot of big shot-takers on this team, and it’s hard to guard.”

On Duke trailing in the second half:
“It’s a game of runs and you know you’re always capable of going on a run.  We weren’t panicking.  We just knew we had to make adjustments.  We knew we weren’t going to score 20 points again in the second half.  We made our adjustments and guys stepped up.”

On Duke’s early season success against such a strong schedule:
“We love it.  The schedule at Duke is part of the reason you come to Duke, and I think this team embraced the schedule and the challenges we’ve had.  You’ve got to keep getting better.  The best thing is that we’re getting better while winning.  You don’t want to get better through losing.  This has been good.”

Duke Senior Ryan Kelly
“We fought for the whole game defensively.  The biggest thing was, in the first half especially but a little bit in the second half too, the defensive rebounding.  Our initial defense was pretty darn good, and then we couldn’t get those defensive rebounds to end the possession.  When we started to do that in the second half, then our offense starting going as well.”

On his two key three pointers in the second half:
“It was a huge set of plays and a big part of that was our crowd tonight.  They really had our back and that was as good as Cameron’s been in a long time.  That’s what we want every game.  The fans were unbelievable.  Whenever they come out they’re great, but when they really bring it, there’s no place like it.”

On what he said to freshman Rasheed Sulaimon at halftime:
“He was a little down on himself, and obviously when you’re a freshman it’s even harder to get out of that hole, even if it’s a little hole, and to dig yourself out.  I just told him, ‘You’re a heck of a player.  You’ve shown it all year against great teams, so go show it in the second half.’  And he did.”

Duke Freshman Rasheed Sulaimon
On his second half performance:
“My teammates just had trust in me.  Coach [Mike Krzyzewski] told me to step it up.  I wanted to step it up for my teammates, and when he called my number I was just very aggressive to deliver, and I’m just fortunate that I could deliver.  I just really wanted to attack, be aggressive, and look for my shot.  I thought in the first half I was very passive.  In the second half I started to look for my shot a little more, and I’m just very fortunate that they went in.”

“I didn’t start off like I was supposed to.  I didn’t play as hard as I could in the first half, and it was kind of a mental game in the first half.  At halftime, Coach [Mike Krzyzewski] got on me.  I just really wanted to win for my team, whether that was on the defensive rebounding side, playing defense, or scoring the ball.  I just wanted to do it.  I was determined to do that in the second half.”

Ohio State Head Coach Thad Matta
On giving up back-to-back three-pointers down the stretch:
“We were kind of hoping [Duke’s Ryan Kelly] hadn’t found his rhythm yet and he obviously did tonight … He had clean looks at it and it was falling and knocked them down.”

On the contributions of his bench:
“I thought Deshaun [Thomas], it was unfortunate he picked up the blocked charge. But he got low and obviously he had foul trouble as well. We felt like coming out of the second half that the first four minutes were going to be huge. I took the timeout and said, ‘Hey, look, we’re only down two points right now. And we had two and a half minutes or whatever. So we had our opportunities. The biggest thing was we had some great looks at the basket and the shots weren’t going down … A great game like this, you’ve got to make some plays down the stretch and unfortunately we just weren’t able to do it.”

On how Duke was able to regain the lead:
“They made some big-time plays. We give up a tip-dunk with two seconds on the shot clock on [Quinn] Cook’s drive, on the missed layup. We went under on 14 [Rasheed Sulaimon] on a hand-off and he banged the three. We didn’t get the job done. But even then, I felt like coming down, we were getting great looks at the basket. Like I said, you’ve got to be able to knock a few of those down. You can’t come in and shoot 34 percent. If you had told me we were going to shoot 34 percent, I would have said we got ran out of the gym tonight.”

On how he felt about his team’s performance:
“I’m not happy. I think that we go home and take a look at this thing and there’s going to be some areas where we had chances to make plays and we didn’t make plays. They scored two times in a row on the same play and we knew the play was coming and we didn’t guard it the way we were supposed to guard it. Yeah, it’s early in the season, but man, we’ve got to make those. You can’t give it up two times in a row.”

On the performance of his younger players during the first half:
“I thought that LaQuinton [Ross] was really, really good. I should have probably gotten him in there earlier in the second half. Shannon [Scott] got a little bit of time in there at the end of the first half – he went a long stretch. Amir [Williams] came in and gave us really, really good minutes as well. Like I said, the youth of this team, you hope you can find some positives when you get back and you build on those, but also correct the negatives.”

On the job Duke’s Quinn Cook did guarding Aaron Craft:
“Quinn is playing at a high level right now. He’s a great kid. I know him. I’m happy as heck for him. I didn’t want him to play that well tonight. I’ll be honest, Aaron had some great looks at the basket and they just didn’t go for him. He was pressured there on the one turnover that was kind of costly.”

On the shot selection by Craft:
“Especially in the second half, they weren’t leaving Deshaun. So him getting in there, those were the ones we knew we were going to have to make. Coming into the game, we felt like if Duke had a weakness, which we didn’t find many, it was going to be our guards were going to have to make plays off the ball screens.”

On whether his team stopped attacking the basket in the second half:
“We stopped attacking because we had to take the ball in-bounds because they were scoring every time. Seriously, that was probably the biggest thing – we weren’t able to get out and get into our flow because they were shooting the ball so well.”

“A couple of their shots were big-time shots. They have great players and this came down to they stepped up and made their big shots fall.”