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Quotes: Duke 71, Maryland 64
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 01/09/2011
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Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski
Opening Statement:
“Well it was a huge win for us because we played against as well-coached a team as we have played against all year. I mean Gary [Williams]’s a great friend but he’s a great coach and his game plan against us was magnificent. They did everything possible to take Nolan [Smith] out of the game. They really crowded the paint, hopefully you can hit some shots which we didn’t any shots and they just played a really strong aggressive, physical, game. They were very good, I mean really good. We haven’t been in a game like that. Michigan State was the closest but even then I thought we were more the aggressor and tonight for the first 24 minutes they were the aggressor. They stayed that way but we started being very aggressive. Tyler [Thornton] and Seth [Curry] were huge. For a youngster in a game like this not playing in the first half and really he’s not in that seven-man rotation for Tyler to play as well as he did tonight is really one of the things that make you love coaching. That’s just a great performance, he had four steals, he took a couple of charges, he played 12 minutes but he gave us energy. Then Seth, we were missing badly and he came in and just knocked some down for us. Those two kids really turned the game around for us. Then the last 16 minutes I thought we played really well in order to win. I’m very pleased to have won the game and in the manner that we did because we could have been dead in the water. It’s a long season and we have a lot of young guys and we are still trying to prove ourselves, those two kids did tonight, they stepped forward.”

On the fearlessness Tyler Thornton showed after not playing in the first half
“I think one he comes from a great high school program and great AAU program. Basically I’ve liked Tyler for over three years because I just thought that Tyler is very mature, he’s an older, young guy and he just been in a lot of tough games before. What he did tonight obviously opens our eyes.  That’s what we are looking for; we’re looking for things like that. We have a lot of improvement that can happen for us so his maturity level really helped. He was a difference maker. I mean how would you predict that?  Probably one of you did that but I’m not as smart as that. It’s one of the really neat things that happens.”

On whether he expected Tyler Thornton to play that much:
“I don’t go into a game expecting anybody to play a certain amount of minutes except Nolan and Kyle, I expect them to play most of the game. Really I am more instinctive about subbing and reactionary to how a kid is playing or what they are doing against us and things like that. You know at that moment I just felt that we needed a spark and you don’t know that, he’s [Tyler Thornton] probably saying ‘Could I have gotten a spark in the first half too?’  But that’s just the way it goes. Thank God he had a great attitude and stepped forward for us.”

On the win:
“It’s great a win for us, are you kidding me. We’re not this great basketball team, we’re a good basketball team that has to gain experience, gain maturity, learn, even though we’ve won all of our games, eight of them we were probably the best team in the country. The last seven we’re trying to find out who we are as a team. Again we’re not going to throw away those first eight, we’re not going to give those back. It’s kind of a weird season like that because what we started out to do is now not what we’re doing, but because it’s cumulative you got 15 wins you don’t get knocked out of that perch as long as you keep winning but we know that we have a lot of improvement to go.”

On calling the quick timeout after halftime:
“We couldn’t score. I thought whatever we told them at halftime was not working.  In fact I was sure it wasn’t working. We gave up seven points in a minute and two seconds and we shot two air balls I think and we didn’t run what we were supposed to run. In sport you can get knocked back because you play good people, we got knocked back, and I thought at halftime we could collect ourselves a little bit and we didn’t, then we did at the timeout, a little bit more emotion and then we started to score. Our defense picked up immensely after that first timeout and then our offense kind of caught up to it. I tell you what, [Jordan] Williams is a hell of a player, but [Cliff] Tucker was really good for them. We had a chance to go three possessions and then all of a sudden, boom with a three and [Tucker] cuts two possessions there, you know five points goes to two, big difference than if he hits a two. Tucker was big time for them. I thought they played really well.”

Duke Senior Nolan Smith
On being on the court with Tyler Thornton:
“Coach [Mike Krzyzewski] was saying he’s going to start to try that more – put me off the ball so I can get even more aggressive from the wing position, and Tyler can just do what he does.  Defensively he’s terrific.  He can really speed up another team’s offense.”

On the success of the smaller lineup in the second half:
“I feel like it sped them up a little bit.  And our biggest thing then was just to defend, get after them, and finish every possession with a rebound.  We were able to do that.”

On trailing Maryland by six points early in the second half:
“We knew we were fine.  We just knew we were in a fight, and we knew that at halftime.  Our goal was not to come out and start like that, but they were obviously ready.  They had tons of confidence, and they came out and hit us right away.  So we were like, ‘Alright, this is a ball game. Let’s just relax and play our game.’”

Duke Senior Kyle Singler
“Maryland’s a good team. We knew coming in that they were going to play us tough.  They’re well-coached.  But I don’t think we played that well, but we played well enough to win.  We’re not going to play perfect throughout the whole year.  I don’t think we came out with the right mindset.  We knew that we couldn’t turn the ball over against them.  We needed to take care of the ball, and we had some early turnovers.  I think that might’ve played a part in it.”

“Tyler [Thornton] was big for us tonight.  His on-the-ball defense was huge.  He just brought a spark to our team in the second half.  And I thought when he came up with that defensive rebound toward the end of the game, it was one of the biggest plays of the game.”

On trailing Maryland by six points early in the second half:
“It was a new situation for us.  We weren’t necessarily worried or concerned.  We just knew we weren’t playing good basketball, and we needed to kind of change that.  Nolan [Smith] did a great job making sure that we got in our sets, and Seth [Curry] and Tyler [Thornton] played a big part in that.”

“Whenever we play Maryland, it’s going to be a good game.  Every ACC team that we play this year will be a good game, and if we don’t play well, we can get beat.  We have to know that and come into every game ready to play.”

Duke Sophomore Seth Curry
“They did a good job trying to take Nolan [Smith] out of the game.  They knew kind of what we were going to do.  It’s conference play and the coaches have known each other for a while, so they know what we’re going to do.  They were ready for it on the offensive end, and we just had to find other ways to get open looks.”

“We were down six or eight in that second half, so we just had to try and get the momentum back in the gym.  Tyler [Thornton] and I came in and gave a little burst to the team.  I was able to make a few shots and he got a few steals, and we kind of got the crowd back into it.  We felt comfortable after that.”

“Any game in conference play, it’s a different type of level.  Teams know what you’re going to do, and they try to take away our strengths.  We have to find other ways to counter that.  And that was a defense we haven’t seen all year, so it was good for us to fight for forty minutes and get this win.”

Maryland Head Coach Gary Williams
Opening Statement:
“I was proud of my team tonight. We came in with the intensity level necessary to compete against Duke here, and we did some good things with our offense here. The best thing we did there early when we weren’t making any shots was we hung in there. Our defense was good enough to keep us there until we started making some shots. And I thought we played pretty well for quite a few periods in the game. You know you just can’t afford to make any mistakes as the game goes on and you know, that can happen. But our guys are coming. You know, we’re getting better. We’re better now than we were in November. And that’s the key for us for the rest of the way. This is a tough one out of the way. Even though we didn’t get the win, I think this game can give us some positives for the rest of the year. We have a very tough week this week. We’re at Wake on Wednesday and Villanova on Saturday up there in Philadelphia. So it doesn’t get any easier for us, but at the same time, hopefully we’re growing as a team.”

On Duke changing its strategy after Maryland was up six early in the second:
“Well we had gone small in the first half because we didn’t have to sub to go small. We were just small. But I mean we were prepared. They had done that before. It wasn’t the first time they’d done that this year. So we were ready for it. I’m sure we didn’t do a great job in that situation but that’s something we had discussed in practice.”

On this being the best defense Maryland has played thus far:
“It was better. I think we improved defensively. We’ll tell by the way we play defense Wednesday night. In other words, it can’t just be tonight. That has to be, we’ve been working hard the last two, three weeks on some things. That was good to see tonight, but we have to have that for the rest of the year now.”

On defending Duke seniors Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler:
“I think if you ask people for a list of the top seniors in the country, both those guys would be on anybody’s 10 seniors, and they have national championships experience which kind of separates them form the other seniors in the country. And they’re both excellent shooters. They don’t tire, I think is one of the great things about them. They don’t get tired out there and they are very difficult to defend. We did a pretty good job at times, and probably a good job on Smith if he does five for 18, but he felt that he missed some that he should have made. But if you take away one, then you still have Singler and Curry I thought did a good job for them tonight coming in. He hit a couple key shots in the second half and kept their momentum going.”

On the sense that Duke wouldn’t lose or be challenged in the league:
“They’re really good. You know you have to prove it coming in here. In other words, you can’t say because this was relatively close tonight that that means they’re not a good as people say. Because I think our league gets, any time something happens in our league it seems like it’s a major catastrophe where other leagues lose games, and it doesn’t seem to be that big of a deal. I think Duke is the best team in the country, so whether anybody can come in here and get them or not, I know they’ll have to play well to do that. Because the one thing that Duke, you can count on, regardless of how they shoot, they will play with a certain level of intensity every time. They never go below that. I’ve never seen it so I think that’s to their credit. And you know that walking in, especially here, which can be intimidating. There’s no doubt about it. So you have to figure out a way to get your team to play at that level and you know, that’s hard to do. You can’t do it all the time. To their credit, they were able to take a pretty good hit tonight and come back and win the game.”