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Quotes: Duke 110, W. Michigan 70
Friday 12/30/2011  -  Duke Sports Information
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Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski:

Opening Statement:
“I thought our team played well. We came out and not only played well offensively but defensively. They’re a very good offense team and they’re coming off a game where they had 91 points against Oakland and beat them by 18 at Oakland. I thought our guys were pretty focused. We took good shots. We hit a lot of threes, but I thought they were good threes. Our guard play at the point was outstanding. Quinn [Cook’s] stat line to get eight assists and no turnovers and his ball pressure was really good. Tyler [Thornton] hit four-for-four from three. But again they were open shots and he knocked them down. And it was good to see Seth [Curry] get into a good rhythm. I think the injury that he had knocked him back a little bit. He had a tough three or four game stretch where he just couldn’t get lift. I just think we were fresher and played well. One day’s rest and Penn will come in here and be a pretty good team.”

On Quinn Cook’s development over the past few games:
“He’s a freshman and remember we shut him down. He’s coming off of a serious injury so he never played in China or Dubai, never practiced. He really didn’t start practicing until October so he didn’t have a preseason conditioning program so it’s really a matter of him getting stronger and getting in better health. He’s a good player and he’s getting an opportunity and making the most of it.”

On pushing the pace and getting out on the break:
“Yeah, we’re trying to push it more and in order to push it you have to rebound. In the first 10 minutes I thought our perimeter and our bigs were rebounding and in the next 10 minutes our perimeter was leaking out and not rebounding. We got to get accustomed to everyone defensive rebounding and then we want to push it. We think we can keep a fresh point guard in there all the time. We have depth and we need to take advantage of it.”

On reading the floor and sharing the ball:
“I thought we really shared the ball well. Miles [Plumlee] getting 15 rebounds is a lot of rebounds in 25 minutes. He was hungry. He knocked a ball out and when our bigs get offensive rebounds like that they knock them back out. Those are the best threes. The next best three is the transition three because the defense flattens out if they collapse. So we got a number of those threes tonight. We got good looks not so much in our initial half-court offense. It was in transition and then off of offensive boards.”

On the timeout in the early seconds of the second half:
“It was a horrible play. The behind-the-back pass, it’s a horrible play, just a horrible play. And then we gave up two or three offensive rebounds. So I didn’t want to spend 20 minutes watching behind-the-back passes and them getting 40 offensive rebounds.”

On the team’s development defensively:
“It’s difficult with a wide margin like that. No matter what you say you still look up and you got a 25 point lead or a 22 or a 28 or a 30. But I thought overall in the first 10 minutes we were really good. Mike Gbinije is putting good minutes up, too. He’s hungry and playing good defense. He had a couple of wide open shots for us. We’re very much a developing team. A lot of guys trying to figure out who they are and we have to give them an opportunity to do that and I thought tonight they had that.”

On how deep he can go on the bench during ACC play:
“I don’t know if it’s a rotation as much as don’t play tired. There is somebody who can play fresh. With certain minutes, I wouldn’t do that. If Josh [Hairston] can keep developing, that gives us a little more depth with the bigs. The perimeter we have depth. We’re looking at Tyler [Thornton] and Quinn [Cook] and that should keep us fresh. And then you have Seth [Curry], Austin [Rivers] and Andre [Dawkins] and then Mike [Gbinije] is a little bit different. I think you have to be ready to play all of them and then there may be a game where you play eight of them. It just depends. But again, I think we have 10 guys who are pretty good basketball players and you want a few of those guys to be outstanding basketball players so there is separation. Depth is good, but it’s better if you have some separation with depth. Hopefully we’ll establish that.”

On what about Western Michigan concerned him:

“Their scoring. Steve [Hawkins] does a really good job of getting his guys good shots. He has a program there. They’ve been hurt with some injuries and I know one kid is not going to come back, but their starting forward hopefully he’ll be back soon. They have a well-conceived offense. You can see that they’re a really together group. It’s a program. He’s a very good coach and he’s built a program there and they never quit. We were hitting everything. The crowd was great. We get all these Cameron Crazies from all over the world here and they’re terrific. They’ll be good. They have been good, especially the last couple of weeks. Their scoring concerned me. I thought we could score against them because we’re bigger and a little bit more athletic. Their scoring concerned me.”

On Christmas period being a good time to step back and evaluate:
“Well Christmas is a good time for a variety of things. There are three things that we try to do. I hope our conference never does this of having conference games during these holidays. We’ve had these long breaks for three reasons. One is academics. Again schools can look at it differently, but for two weeks we really have a tough academic time in December. The second thing is that I want our kids home for Christmas. We shouldn’t be back here practicing on Christmas Day. I don’t think a college basketball player should do that. We’re not professionals. We’re not the Rockettes, the Knicks or the Rangers or the Giants. Those guys are professionals. I hope our conference never schedules conference games during this week when we go to 18. I think that’s a big mistake. The third thing for us is it gives us a chance to evaluate what we’ve done and make some changes as we go forward. So those are the three reasons we do December the way we do. And I think they’re good reasons.”

Senior Miles Plumlee:
“I’m really proud of the team, and I think we handled the break really well.  It’s been a different year with how early it started and all the traveling.  We needed a longer break, but guys have handled it really well so far.”

On his rebounding performance:
“It’s always going to be an emphasis for me.  I know I can rebound really well with my athleticism and size.  I think I’m just relaxing out there and making it my mindset to always go after the ball every time, because they’re not always going to come in your area.”

“I definitely think [the win tonight] was a sign of improvement.  The biggest indicator of that was that the last three days of practice have been really good.  A lot of times we’ll have a day where we let up, and we haven’t done that.  Then we had another great game like this, so if we can make it a habit, we’ll keep improving.”

Junior Seth Curry:

 “I love this stretch where we play so many games so close together.  You want to play.  Practice is cool, but you’d rather get out there and play.  I’m glad, getting back from this break, we’re playing as many games as possible.”

“[This was a] big win.  It’s fun to get out there on the court after the break.  We’re getting better as a team and it showed tonight.”

Freshman Austin Rivers:
 “This shows how focused we were and how focused we are.  We have a seven-day break, we haven’t played a game in like two weeks, it’s been a lot of time off.  Instead of coming out rusty and getting back into it, we come out from the get-go.  I’m really proud of everybody, and we played as if we just had a game the other day.  Everybody was playing with each other and fitting in, and it was exciting to play and watch.”

On the slow start very early in the game:
 “We had like four possessions where we kept missing and missing, and I think that was the rust we kind of wore off.  After those couple first possessions, we were on the go from there.  We were able to change.  I think the Duke team of a couple of months ago would’ve stuck in that slump and eventually worked its way and [thought that] just because we had more talent, we would’ve beat the team.  I think the more mature team we have now, after that first possession, we kept going.  We’re really running the floor now and everybody is excited for each other, and I think when everyone is so unselfish like that we’re really tough to beat.”

Western Michigan head coach Steve Hawkins:

Opening Statement:
“I thought Duke showed why they are a top-5 team in the nation. They just keep coming at you in waves. I thought we were able to hang with them just for a little while there early and when fatigue settles in, this is not the kind of team you want to play against. They’re in superior condition. They’ve got great athletes. It’s kind of like going into a heavyweight bout and you may get in a punch or two in the early rounds, but as the fight wears on they just keep wearing you out with those body shots. When you let your guard down, they don’t score. They score 10 ... they score 12 ... they score 14. I just thought they were terrific tonight. I was very proud of our kids’ effort. We were short-handed coming in. We got more short-handed as the game progressed. I was very proud of our kids’ effort, but Duke is obviously the better basketball team.”

On injuries:
“Mike [Douglas]‘s shoulder came out again [with] I don’t know five, six minutes to go in the game. It was pretty interesting because he dropped his shoulder, he looked at me and - we were all looking at him and immediately when we looked at him - I watched his shoulder pop right back in. You know you could see it go back in, so we pulled him out. [Nate Hutcheson] separated his shoulder early in the first half. We’re not exactly sure how bad it is yet. We’ll get that evaluated when we get home.”

On Flenard Whitfield:
“I hope for Whitfield to come back about six weeks ago. Right now, we can’t get these guys back early enough, but we keep dropping like flies. We’re just going to have other people step up. They’ve done it so far. We’ll keep working as a staff. We may have to move some pieces around, warm up some walk-ons. And I’m being serious about that because we do have a little bit of depth up front. We’re not real banged up up front, but we’re really hurting on the perimeter, so we may have to get Danny Loney ready at the three and see if we can move some pieces around.”

On starting conference play:
“We always shoot towards conference play with our strength of schedule. So far this year, this is a game that we looked at just like we looked at Gonzaga and Purdue, Temple in the tournament in Puerto Rico, some of these things, playing six in a row on the road to start the season. We think that served us well. I really feel like that’s a formula for getting a team ready for MAC play. We’ve been fortunate enough to do pretty well in the MAC. Our scheduling philosophy has been schedule tough early. You play at Duke. You play at Purdue. You play at Gonzaga. When you go play on the road in MAC play, there there’s nothing you certainly haven’t seen, any atmosphere that you haven’t really gone up against so far.”

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