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Quotes: Duke 83, St. John's 76
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 01/28/2012
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Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski:

“I didn’t think we played well and St. John’s had something to do with that because they came to play. Those two kids especially [Moe] Harkless and [D’Angelo] Harrison are just outstanding basketball players. Harkless had a terrific stat line against us. I thought the first half we played well defensively and we have to finish plays.  Quite frankly, we should have had over 60 points in the first half I think we had 45.  Even at the start of the game we missed so many shots inside. I thought we started the second half well and once we got a lead. Some of it has to do with our kids taking two days off.  This has been a very hard month and you know throughout a season a team goes through energy cycles where for this part of time you have to do this and then you get rejuvenated, but at least they feel like we’re going to win, we’re up by 22 or 20 or 18 or 19 and the execution defensively was not there during the second half and St. John’s stayed in it which shows to their character. Then you start missing a couple of shots and you got a lot of game pressure on you. I think our team showed they had game pressure on them, like how are we in this position right now. Well I can tell you, by not playing defensive, not finishing.  That’s what the game does, every game, not just in basketball, but in every game, when you have the opportunity to knock someone out; you have to knock them out especially if the other team is going to keep fighting, like St. John’s would.  If you play a team that doesn’t have that kind of character, you can get away with it. But these kids are striving to build something and they are playing their best basketball. They just beat West Virginia by double-figures and had Villanova. They feel good about themselves and so you have to stay with it and I don’t think we stayed with it and they did.  We did enough to win, which almost makes me sick to say, I hate saying that.  I hate saying we did enough to win.  That’s not who I am and that’s not who this program is.  We don’t do enough to win.  We play really good basketball and hopefully we win.  And that’s the story.”

On comparing this game to last week’s loss to Florida State:
“Well we didn’t play well defensively in the second half of that game either, but I think it’s two totally different things.  That was a hell of a game and St. John’s gave a heck of an effort, but this wasn’t a heck of a game. Last Saturday’s game was a big time game and even when you’re trying to play defense they were pretty damn good. I think part of it is the ending of an energy cycle.”

On the expectations to win big:
“In order to be like really good, you have to be different. There is only one champion.  There’s only a few programs that separate themselves, so you can’t do what normal people do.  You have to do something better and at that point I would have liked my team to execute and fight.  We let up and they didn’t.  I wanna win and I wanna win by playing great basketball, and to me it was like a loss, I didn’t like today. And if my team doesn’t like today then we’ll get better.  If my team is okay with today we’re gonna fight.  I’m not gonna change on this.”
On the crowd
“I hate to say anything about the crowd.  It was us this afternoon.  We can be better.  Everything can be better.  I don’t want to talk about anyone getting better when we weren’t and I don’t want anyone to think that any answer that I give would take away from any answers I have already given.  We have to get better.  It was not good today. It was not good.  I am not a big believer in it’s a W.  I have never really believed in that.”

On his concerns about the defense
“The defense in the first half was very good.  I think a very big part of it was we just let it up.  These kids are more offensive players and they won’t win big unless they become defensive players that can play offense that’s the bottom line. At Maryland, we played really well defensively, first half against Florida State, so we can do it.  It’s just not in our nature to do it.” 

Senior Ryan Kelly:

On Duke’s play in the second half:
“In the second half, we weren’t as aggressive on the offensive end and our defense was very poor. When you play defense like that, they start getting good looks and knocking down shots. They got their confidence going and we kind of tightened up. We were turning the ball over and not making good basketball plays.”

On Duke’s slow-down offense:
“That’s at the end of the game when we slow it down a little bit. For a huge chunk of the second half, we didn’t want to slow it down. We were trying to play basketball and make the right plays and attack the basket. That wasn’t happening. Our offense continues to dictate our defense. If we’re not playing good offense right now, our defense struggles. When we’re playing good offense, our defense does well. That’s not how it can be to beat really good teams. We just need our defense to step up. Like I said, something needs to change.”

Freshman Austin Rivers:

On Duke’s play in the second half:
“It was a little frantic it seemed like. Guys were throwing the ball everywhere. It was a little disorganized. We prepared well for them in practice. I thought we were going to come out and really break them down on offense. I thought we did in the first half a little bit. We did struggle a little in the second half on defense. We were up 20 points in the second half. They outfought us. It led to us being in a mode where everybody is on their own. It was one-on-one every time someone got the ball instead of five-against-five against their team. [St. John’s] was playing five-on-five. They were running and, like I said, they had no pressure, so they were just coming down and shooting freely. We should’ve just stepped up and done the same thing and just had fun playing with each other and enjoy making the extra pass. I think when we do that, we play well.”

On the St. John’s freshmen:
“[Moe Harkless is] a great player. They played well tonight. They’re in a good position with five freshmen on their team. They’re great players. I can’t take away from him and [D’Angelo] Harrison, both of those guys are dynamic players. Harkless had an unbelievable game. But, like I said, we let them have those types of games. They’re playing freely out there.”

Junior Seth Curry:

On St. John’s making a run in the second half:
“We weren’t really disciplined. We turned the ball over and let them get easy shots. It’s tough. You gotta just keep playing. That’s what happens. Try to move on from the plays you have before and move on.”

On Duke’s ability to finish the game:
“It was bad. It was pretty much an embarrassment to go out there and play well for 20 minutes and then in the second half, be a totally different team. That’s totally on my shoulders to go out there and try and handle the ball and not turn it over and try and get us in a position to win games. We didn’t do that.”

On Duke’s missing piece at the end of games:
“I don’t know. I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s my role as the point guard out there at the end of the games to handle the ball and get us in the right situation to finish off games. Maybe I’m not doing that as much as I should be right now.”

On playing at Virginia Tech on Thursday:
“It’s definitely going to be a big game for me to go in there and redeem my play from last year and redeem ourselves as a team from last year. [Last year] we lost so we got to go out there and play well and try and get the win and get a W in the win column for Duke in the ACC season.”

St. John’s assistant coach Mike Dunlap:

Opening Statement:

“I’ll keep it simple. Free throw shooting, 11-21. We hit some bad shots in the first half that got us going the wrong way. We finally got a hold of them. We went the right way. Then, our turnovers in transition when we were stealing the momentum from them, they were huge plays. We know that those three things we can control. It was just a grand effort. What Duke did to us is that they left the three ball available. Our penetration, they collapsed on it. We had a lot of good looks from the three point line, but were asking our players to turn those down and keep working the paint. In the second half that is exactly what we did. Our run game hurt them. The second thing is that we were able to get in the paint. Once we were able to stop the clock in the penalty situation, we were able to control the tempo. But again, they are fierce on the boards. They do as well as anybody on the pick and roll game, and they know the rules to a tee. It was a heck of a game in terms of us reeling them back in. We usually don’t do that to Duke. So again, we continue to learn how to play as one unit. We are a very young team as everybody knows. I’m not letting them off the hook. We have DePaul on Wednesday, and we fully expect to play as well or better against DePaul on Wednesday. This is a good valuable lesson for our very young team.”

On Moe Harkless:

“He deserves the credit for not getting the fifth. Second is, we changed our defense to protect him as much as we could. Third is, he did not let that problem bleed into the offense side. He was obviously a presence. Coming down the back stretch, we tried to get him every touch as we could, and in the past, that has been difficult for our players to understand – the hot hand needs the ball. Then, D’Angelo [Harrison] filled in behind him. Mature is what I would say. He has grown on each and every outing.”

On D’Angelo Harrison:

“Well tonight, D’Angelo [Harrison] let the game come to him. I think they did a great job at stopping him from getting a lot of touches. They played on top of him, so the back door cut a lot of pressure. But the great thing about D’Angelo is that he showed some maturity that he hasn’t in the past where he let the game come to him. He didn’t force it. When he needed to, he did the right thing in terms of his dribble penetration. He didn’t rely the on the three ball to be beginning, middle and end of his story. So again, both guys are maturing quickly. I think that Coach Lavin, keeping everything in place, would say that their growth is good. He wants that. Basically, what we are trying to do as a staff is hand the team back to coach in great shape and much older than they were when he became sick. We know our targets. We talk about that frequently, but D’Angelo and Moe Harkless, sometimes with a young team, have to understand that the role is to let your better players have those touches and have the offensive game. Setting screens and rebounds are just as important. I think we are just beginning. Villanova was a heck of a game. Then we beat West Virginia. We come in here and play the way we did. We are a team that is ascending, and you can see it in before your very eyes. I am pretty pleased on that level, but we know that we were in control of being able to win this game, honestly. All those factors are simply practice items.

Freshman Moe Harkless

On being the first St. John’s player to score 30 points at Duke:

“My teammates just gave me the ball. I’m comfortable now being the guy to hit big shots in big games.”

On his emotions at the end of the game:

“I was just angry. That’s the only word that could sum it up – angry. I wanted to win the game.”

On the meaning of this game:

“It was kind of personal. Coach Dunlap says all the time that he respects Duke, but he wants to beat them and he put that into pretty much everyone’s heads. So it was personal.”

On early foul trouble:

“It just stopped the momentum because I had some momentum in the beginning of the game. So I basically had to play a little smarter on defense, not reach on everything or try to block every shot.”