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Quotes: Duke 66, Virginia Tech 48
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 02/25/2014
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Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski
Opening Statement:
“It was a good performance by our team, especially defensively. During these five games in 11 days, it’s been a grueling stretch. With three of the opponents being historically amazing games, with Maryland, North Carolina, Syracuse, and traveling to Georgia Tech. So overall, tonight, it’s kind of like, I don’t know if you do this, but getting the last bit of toothpaste out. Even though you’ve got two full containers, you’re going to get that last little bit. Tonight was like, “Let’s get it out there.”  We started out so great, and then we didn’t get the push we normally get from the bench.  One thing about their team, you know especially in those last four games, those kids haven’t given up with all those injuries they’ve had.

"They were in a position to beat Pitt, Virginia, they played [N.C.] State real well.  They weren’t about to give up.

"They didn’t, they cut it down to a seven-point lead in the second half, and I thought we responded with real good defense.

"I thought Rasheed [Sulaimon] and Tyler [Thornton] handled the ball so well; 12 assists and no turnovers. Rodney [Hood]’s been our most consistent player.  He had that workman like performance tonight.  We need to get away a little bit. Tomorrow we’ll have a short meeting and lift and have an early supper. Thursday will be off, we’ll be back on Friday. No contact, we’ll get a lot like a review. We need to review our stuff rather than always planning for someone else’s stuff.  Get a couple good days of lifting and a day off on Sunday and come back for the final weeks. Our team really needs this break from games, break from competitions.”

On being empathetic to his players during the recent stretch of games:
“Now [we can].  Not before or during the game because we’re not supposed to do that.  Our staff did a great job. Just keep pushing them.  Especially you get off to that lead, 24 to 5, and sometimes that’s bad .I’ll take it all the time and try to deal with the consequences.  But you let up a little bit.  You think it’s going to be easy.  The reason it was that way was because we played so hard. I mean we were playing great basketball.  But we let up, but they didn’t stop.”

On Rasheed’s pressure:
One of the reasons we’re playing better is because of Rasheed’s pressure on the ball. Because he’s also 6’3”-6’4”, he’s quick, and he wants to play defense. That’s been a big plus for us.  I thought as a freshman he handled things pretty well because under ball screens we were trying to not trap him but put a lot of pressure on him. He started out and it was tough because, no port in the storm, so to speak. And then he’s going to be a really good player because he’s a tough kid and they’ll have more of their weapons with him. They’re missing a couple of kids on the perimeter.

On shooting well against their zone:
“Well we had good looks throughout.  We haven’t really had that game in a couple weeks where we just knock it down.  I mean, our offense, our games have been in the upper sixties. Sixties, not 80. I thought we had good shots. When we got in the inside we were not smart about how we tried to convert. We’ve got to do a better job of that. They can block shots, they’re tall inside.”

On holding Virginia Tech to four offensive rebounds:
“We’re rebounding better.  Pretty much since the Clemson game our rebounding, our defense, outside of a half, the Carolina second half, we were a horrible team and they were great.  But overall we’ve taken good care of the ball, taken good shots, played really well on defense, and we have held our own or won the rebounding battle.  So, we have to keep doing that.”

On taking a review of the team and “tweaking” it:
“You know, you’re always preparing for another team, so you don’t take as good a look at you. Part of it is we have to take a look at how we sub. I like our starting unit; they’ve developed a really good chemistry. We need to get Andre [Dawkins] shooting again. During this period Andre has not been a big factor and he should be a bigger factor. Quinn [Cook] should be a bigger factor.  Marshall [Plumlee] has emerged. How do we rotate? We’re not going to just sub five guys.  There’s got to be a rotation. Especially after these last two games, you’ve got the tournament play. Jabari and Rodney have to be out on the court.  What are you resting them for? So we have to get into figuring that out.  What’s good is that a lot of our guys are playing well, we’re getting better.  The main thing is we’re healthy.  We’ve got bumps and bruises. Amile’s bumped up a lot, but overall, we can all play. The other coach would like to say that about his team throughout the year and we would have liked to say that during the last three years, that everyone’s ready to play, we have all of our guys. One of the things for this week is to get them healthier, get them in better shape, get them rest, lift, good stretching, good reps without pounding them with physicality. Just gave myself a pep-talk.”

Duke Redshirt Sophomore Rodney Hood
“If you’re mentally ready to play, you’ll be physically ready to play.  But if you’re not, it takes you a long time to react to what’s going on in the game.  I think we started out well, and I think we didn’t hit shots and then we started getting lackadaisical on defense.”

When asked how the tough four-game stretch for Duke compared to an AAU schedule:
“Duke is a big difference from AAU.  Playing for Coach K, he doesn’t expect us to be tired.  We’ve got to just play through it and fight for the name on your chest.  You can’t get tired.  You’ve got to just keep playing.  There’s no team in the ACC that you can just walk past.  [Virginia Tech] almost beat Pitt at Pitt, and they could easily come in here and beat us.  A couple of their guys are hurt but they’re a good team, and in the future they’ll be a good team.”

On the team’s lack of intensity during its early pregame warm-ups and how the coaching staff reacted:
“We came out [before the game] and we started to warm up, and when we came back in [to the locker room], the coaches got us pretty good because we didn’t look like we were ready to go out there and fight.  We’ve got to be prepared for that.  In the ACC Tournament, you can play three or four games in three or four days, so it’s no excuse to be tired.  I think it’s taxing on us, but we’ve got to be ready and get rejuvenated for the next week.”

Duke Sophomore Rasheed Sulaimon
“After a big win like we had against Syracuse, [Virginia Tech] was probably going to think that we were going to be down.  So we just wanted to come out and step on their throats right away and force the pace and speed them up to try and get them out of rhythm, and I think we did that today.”

“We’ve been having some lulls these last couple of games at sporadic points in the game, but one thing that we don’t want to have a lull on is defense.  We’re going to keep the defensive pressure up, and when we don’t hit our jump shots like that, our defense can cause us to get easy buckets in transition and that can get us going.  So no matter how we’re playing, if we continue to play well defensively, we’ll be fine.  I definitely think [defense was the difference tonight], and I think it’s going to be the difference going forward.”

On Duke’s full-court pressure defense:
“That’s just who we are now. Whoever we play, we feel like we have a lot of athleticism, talent and depth, and if we force the pressure and speed the other team up by picking them up full court, making them uncomfortable, it plays into our advantage.  We like to speed teams up, try to make them feel uncomfortable, and if we get a steal or a deflection or just make them feel uncomfortable and take a bad shot, we can get out on the run and get easy buckets in transition.  That’s just who we are now, and going forward, I’m pretty sure that’s what we’re going to stick to.”

On how he’s evolved as a defensive player this year:
“Coach [Mike Krzyzewski] has a lot of confidence in me, and he constantly tells me that he thinks I can be a lockdown defender.  And if Coach K is telling you something, it must be true.  I’m starting to have a lot more confidence in myself, and I’m just trying to use my quickness and not necessarily steal the ball but just try to disrupt [the other team’s] offense.  That’s what I tried to do tonight.  Especially when you have 9,000+ fans, Cameron Crazies cheering for you, even when you’re tired it keeps you going and allows you to continue to try to put pressure on the ball.  That’s what I tried to do tonight.”

Duke Freshman Jabari Parker
“It’s always good to have a win, no matter how it played out.  We also got the momentum in the first half, and it really gave us that room that we needed going into the second half so we wouldn’t have a lot of drama and not a lot of momentum their way.”

When asked for his assessment on how the team performed over the recent four-game stretch:
“Overall, I think it went pretty well. I think we achieved something mentally, just to erase something that was really important for our program and get back to the next game.  And we ended up getting that win against Syracuse, and I think that really pushed us forward and got our confidence back.”

When asked whether the recent four-game stretch was tougher mentally or physically:
“I think the emotional side, especially losing to UNC, just to erase that and get right back to the Syracuse game, that was a very important game for me and for the program.  But just losing and having a game in the next two days really taught me that you just have to forget about it and move on to the next [game].”

Virginia Tech Head Coach James Johnson
On the start of the game:
“There were a whole lot of problems. That is a very good team that was fired up and ready to go. I thought that our young guys, we started two freshmen out there, were a little shell shocked to start in this environment. That was just a very good team and they were ready to play. They have played some tough games and had a long stretch here, but they came out ready to play.”

“It took a lot out of us. I thought the first play of the game with the block-out and the over-the-back and the foul call on Devin Wilson took a lot out of us too. Then we gave up. It was a good call. I thought we didn’t take it in and we didn’t get a stop and we don’t rebound the ball. Then they would throw it out and on the third shot attempt they would knock down a three. That took a lot out of us right from the start. As we were able to relax and settle down and start playing basketball, we got back in the game and cut the lead at the half”

On Rasheed Sulaimon’s defense of Devin Wilson:
“I thought that was the difference in the game, but that had a lot to do with it, just picking him up full court and just wearing him completely down. It affected Devin on both ends of the floor, the offensive and the defensive end. He wasn’t able to play with the intensity on defense because he was just so tired and worn down. But I thought Rasheed did a good, very good, job. He is long and big and long and that affected Devin all night long and getting to our offense.”

On Virginia Tech’s inability to gain the lead:
“I think that is a combination of a very good team and very good players and a winning team. They are used to making plays when they needed to and every time they needed to make a play it seemed like one of their guys stepped up and made it. Whether it was Rodney [Hood] in the middle of our zone stepping up and making some big plays there or whether it was Jabari [Parker] getting to the offensive glass or getting the stick back or getting to the free throw line, whenever they needed to make a play they made it and they had several guys who could do it. It wasn’t just one guy. It was several guys that made the plays. I thought they did a good job of when we made a run or when we got a fade-back and made the game and cut it to 8 or 7, they just had guys who made plays.”

On Duke’s defense:
“I think a combination. They used a lot of their bench and they did a good job with that, but their defense, they do what bothers us. That pressure defense bothers us and they did a good job with that. At that time, we were probably running out of gas a little bit. Devin Wilson got Sulaimon and those guys in his face 94 feet tonight and when that happens, during that stretch we are tired and we turn it over and passes aren’t as crisp and our jump shots are a little short, things like that. But you have to give them a lot of credit too. They did a very good job in defense and their defensive pressure took us out a lot of things on our offense, especially on our rebounds.”

On Trevor Thompson:
“Yeah, definitely. I thought coming into the game that was an area where we could try to get the ball inside and score inside with [Joey] van Zegeren and Trevor. Trevor he, to be a lot more patient out there tonight, took his time when he got the ball and he scored around the ball, right hand and left hand. He took a step forward tonight against a very good team in a very hostile environment, showed a lot of poise in the post and scored basically whenever he got the opportunity to.”