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Quotes: Notre Dame 79, Duke 77
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 01/04/2014
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Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski
Opening Statement:
“That was a heck of a basketball game. I thought they handled the ball unbelievably well. Eric Atkins was superb and so was Pat Connaughton. We didn’t play as well defensively, but they did play well offensively. I thought Jackson’s three when it was 60-50 was a quick answer to our 10-point lead.  I think that was the biggest shot of the game. If we get a stop, we could have gone up by 12. That was a huge shot. In the last three and a half minutes it looked like we were going to get blown out, but our kids played great. They put us in a position to win the game. We hit big free throws. They just made some big buckets. [Garrick] Sherman made that shot at the end. We had a defensive lapse on the backdoor to Connaughton, but still in that time I think we played winning basketball. Today it wasn’t good enough.”

On Rodney Hood’s turnover at the end of the game:
“We would have called a timeout, but he was matched up against a big guy. We weren’t going to get a better possession than that. We were down by two, and you couldn’t draw it up better. As soon as we saw that matchup, we knew we were going to get him the ball. That is how we won the Vermont game. He just didn’t make the play. I am not faulting him. And I wouldn’t take back what happened. It didn’t turn out, but we are not going to get anything better than Rodney one on one where we have a shot to get two foul shots or a three point play.”

On if Rodney Hood needed to execute better:
“No, that is just a part of him learning. He got a little deep. He should have gone right at the defender. I am not faulting him at all. We win and we lose together. We never lose because of one kid. We lose together. I have never talked about a particular kid in a loss.”

On what happened after they held a 10-point lead:
“We just stopped playing the defense that we were playing. However, they are a good offensive team. They do not turn the ball over. They get a lot of touches. None of their guys are bad ball handlers, and they really value the ball well. They were able to finish possessions. The two kids that make that whole thing go are Atkins and Connaughton. They are just solid, strong, really good basketball players.”

On his decision to leave Jabari Parker on the bench at the end of the game:
“He wasn’t playing well. For any kid who is not playing well, you should try to find a kid that is playing well. But that happens. Sometimes kids don’t play well throughout the game. He just wasn’t having a good game.”

On how unusual it is to see Parker have a rough game:
“Well, he is a human being. He didn’t play well today. That is part of being a freshman. Hopefully he will recover quickly from that.”

On struggling in the team’s first true road game:
“No, I don’t think we lost because of being nervous or anything like that. We are a good team, but not a great team. We have to play well in order to win these games. We didn’t play as well as they did collectively, but we still had a chance to win. The bottom line is that we just need to play better.”

Duke Forward Rodney Hood
On the feel of the game today:
“It felt different. They outplayed us. No excuse there. They outplayed us. When we needed a stop, we didn’t get a stop. We had some balls go in and out, but I can name at least 10 plays where it was a breaking point and we didn’t pull it off. We’ve got to be able to do that on the road. “

On letting the game slip away after the 10-point lead:
“We were just an immature team today. They back-doored us, ran the shot clock down, made us defend long possessions. Then at the end, they got a layup. I was supposed to pull through for my team, but it just didn’t happen today.”

Duke Guard Quinn Cook
On Notre Dame’s run down the stretch:
“They are a veteran team. They made some big plays. [Pat] Connaughton made some crazy plays. Atkins was solid all night; he made some big plays. We let up when we were up by 10. We cut it to one, but then we couldn’t get it back. They deserved it. They made some big-time plays at big-time moments.”

On the extra emotion involved this week with Coach K:
“Well it was also our first conference game, and starting 0-1 in conference play in this kind of conference is tough. But we can’t dwell on it. We prepared well, but with everything that Coach is going through, we felt that this was a statement game for us and for him.”

Notre Dame Head Coach Mike Brey
Opening statement:
“Our group, this team of guys, has been through some tough stuff since the Ohio State game, and for us to come together and win a game like this after being down ten, I am very proud of us. I think it all starts with our senior captain who really, Eric Atkins, never lets us think that it’s going to be a tough night. We had a lot of different lineups in there. It’s a historic day for us. Our first ACC game and to beat a program like Duke’s will always be a great memory for us starting off in Atlantic Coast Conference play.”

On going with a small lineup:
“After about the fourth three that we didn’t hedge on? We got Garrick Sherman out of there and we got [Austin] Burgett in there and played small and that lineup did two things, really. We switched everything, which helped us, but they were hard to guard too. Our lineup was very hard to guard. We had that floor spread and we really moved without the ball and got great stuff at the end of the clock. We had some young guys in there again. Demetrius [Jackson], I thought, took another step forward there, Steve Vasturia—his shot may be the shot of the game. That was a huge shot right there to really make us believe. I told them in the locker room that it could be a different group finishing the game on Tuesday night.”

On Garrick Sherman’s basket in the end:
“We just felt that maybe we go back to him one time and get a post feed and get something down there and that paid off for us, it really did. We discussed it a little bit, ‘Let’s get him in there one more time,’ because the one thing, our big guys, our size, helped us get to the bonus quickly. We pounded away and our big guys were really good in setting the tone. They were just so hard to guard, and the way they were shooting behind the ball screens made us feel like we had to be a little quicker.  We just said, ‘Switch everything.’  And that group really did a great job of that.”

On Jabari Parker’s performance:
“We had a lot of different guys on him. I think it was a great team awareness of him.  I wish we could have used some of that on [Rodney] Hood, quite frankly, because he was unbelievable. I think the team job we did on Parker, a lot of different guys, helped because you wouldn’t be able to absorb two guys going off. Those two guys go off a lot when they win. Only one went off.”