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Quotes: Duke 88, Cornell 47
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 12/19/2012
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Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski

Opening Statement:

“Our guys did a really good job tonight. Cornell didn’t waver from the way they play, and the way they play will end up being very successful for them in the Ivy League because they are more athletic. They are trying to get more athletic, and they are. They pushed the ball on us, and again I am not going to blame the layoff, we haven’t played in a week and a half. I didn’t think we were ready defensively and they were good. They were really good, and pushing the ball up. I didn’t think we had the emotion we needed to play defense. The last eight minutes of the first half we started getting it. We ended the first half really well, and then the second half we were terrific. Our guys were playing so hard, and so together, it was just very difficult for them to score. It was a great second half. We have to put that behind us right after the press conference and move on to our next opponent.”

On Quinn Cook and Tyler Thornton Taking Care of the Basketball

“They have been handling the ball well. Quinn [Cook] is really playing extremely well, and Tyler [Thornton] is usually just a workman like player. It is nothing flashy, and they value the ball pretty well. We had a lot of assists tonight and only a few turnovers and forced a lot of turnovers, but our guard play has been excellent since Kentucky. Since the Kentucky game we have been really good, but we have been really good at the guard spot.”

On Marshall Plumlee

“He did fine, and then he didn’t re-injure his foot, but he sprained his foot. He has a little slight sprain, and we didn’t want to put him back [in]. We weren’t completely sure. It was too bad, he would have had a lot of minutes tonight…they just said he hurt his foot, so I assume, and then they said he is not coming in the game, so I haven’t had a chance to talk to him yet.”

On Playing Back-to-Back Days

“You have to get games in. December is really a very difficult month for us because you have a two-week period of intense academics. That is why we didn’t schedule that mid-week game before Temple. When you take that game, that game has to be fit in somewhere, so it turned out this way. A lot too depends of when teams are available to play. It would have been good to play last night and then again tomorrow night but it just kind of worked out this way.”

On Quinn Cook’s Defensive Rebounding

“We have to keep working on our defensive rebounding. On most teams, the point guard doesn’t go to the offensive boards. On all the teams I have coached, once I learned a little bit more about coaching, I have tried to emphasize the point guard being a really good defensive rebounder because he doesn’t have anyone to block out. It is one of the great fast breaks when the point guard gets the rebound because you get a rebound there is no one in front of you, then you have this mass of people going. I am real close friends with Jason Kidd and obviously coached him in the Olympics, he is not a magnificent ball-handler; he is a magnificent passer. He is a good ball handler, but a lot of his stuff is when he has free vision and that is what happens when a point guard gets a rebound like that, he has free vision.”

On Winning USA Basketball Coach of the Year (with Geno Auriemma)

“There are not many coaches available to win that award. If you win, you are probably going to get that award, but then the alternative is not that good. I am very, very proud and honored to receive that award. We have had a chance to win it on a few occasions…Geno [Auriemma] did a great job, when you both win, you should both do that. USA Basketball works as a team, not just as men’s and women’s programs but with the senior and junior programs, and that is why USA basketball has won more championships top to bottom, age-wise than ever right now. Under Jerry Colangelo’s leadership and because of the culture that has been created so hopefully that can keep going.”

Senior Mason Plumlee:

On Quinn Cook’s 12-assist perform:

“It felt like he had more than that, just the way he was setting people up, just so in control.  It’s really fun to play with.  He’s so in control.  I know he had 12 assists and one turnover.  That’s awesome.  And it’s fun to play with.  It just makes everybody better.”

On the difference between this year’s team and last year’s team defensively:

“I think we’re a lot more athletic, especially on the perimeter.  I think Rasheed [Sulaimon]’s quickness, his length [are key].  I think Quinn [Cook] is picking up the ball a lot better than he did last year, and his aggressiveness has been great because that’s really the first thing they see coming down.  And then having guys like Amile [Jefferson] – Amile’s so long, whenever his guy shoots they’re always a little unsure because he can always get a hand on the ball.  I think overall we’re more athletic and a little longer.”

On playing back-to-back games tonight and tomorrow night:

“Back-to-back’s not strange to us because we did [it in] the Bahamas, but it’s strange not playing for 12 days.  This we’re used to now.  Now we’re in game mode.”

Sophomore Quinn Cook:

“Turnovers are really the only thing I keep track of.  The assists were great, and my teammates were finishing for me, so that’s a great thing.”

On the key to the strong finish to the first half and the second half success:

“[It was] just staying sharp and running our stuff.  When we run our stuff, we’re very hard team to stop.  And coach has counters to every play we have, so if a team scouts one thing, we have three options at each play.  We just executed what he wanted after each timeout, at each dead ball.  We just stayed sharp.”

On getting contributions from the whole team tonight:

“It’s fun, especially for Marshall [Plumlee].  He hasn’t played since China last year, 2011.  It’s great to see him out there.  [Alex] Murphy is just getting his confidence back, Todd [Zafirovski] scoring.  It’s just great to have everybody out there producing.”

On tomorrow night’s matchup with Elon:

“They’re 7-3 and they’ve got some good players.  They’re going to come in here tomorrow with a chip on their shoulder and wanting to shock the world, so we definitely want to come out with the same intensity we’ve had all year.”

Senior Seth Curry:

“It kind of took us a while to get our rhythm, and once we got into halftime, came back in the second half with a lot more energy, and found out who we were, we played a lot better.”

On the quick turnaround leading to tomorrow night’s matchup with Elon:

“We’ve done it before early in the season, so we kind of know how to approach a back-to-back situation.  We’ll just get right back in the film room after this game and try to get a lot of rest tonight.”

On Duke’s No. 1 ranking:

“It feels good to finally be recognized, but, at the same time, it means nothing right now early in the season.  We just have to keep playing the way we’re playing and get better.”

Cornell Head Coach Bill Courtney

Opening Statement:

“They are really good. I thought our team played well in the first half. Eventually their length, size and quickness really affected us. They forced turnovers, because they are so long and so well disciplined on defense. On offense, they have great shot makers, their ability to make shots is unbelievable and that is what they do. They are a really good team.”

On what happened in the second half

“Well, our defense in the first half was pretty good and we got some rebounds. They only had one offensive rebound at the half. When we get rebounds we are pretty good in transition and I think that helped us. Once they are able to get their defense back set, it is very difficult to score against them.”