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Quotes: Duke 66, Syracuse 60
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 02/22/2014
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Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski
Opening Statement:
“Another great game. Different from the first one against Syracuse because today it was really difficult to score. What a great environment. Their celebration of basketball there and our celebration of basketball here was phenomenal. It’s what makes our sport so good. I love the NBA to death but this is something they can’t do. We should always recognize that. Purity is our product. My guys to fight like they did today?  It was their fourth game in eight days coming after one of our first halves of the season at North Carolina. They played great there, but to come back and play at this level of intensity was spectacular. Our defense was really good and their defense adjusted. They did a nice zone, and we flashed and they stayed with shooters. And up there when we flashed they collapsed a little bit and we would kick out and have a shot. They stayed with shooters today, and we kicked out and had a shot. It turned out to be a good move to put Rodney [Hood] there so he could run the offense. And that play at the end with Rodney was amazing. I love the basketball gods today. They put Rodney in two defining plays. He was maybe fouled up there on the dunk and the charge; I think it was a charge. One turned out great for us and one did not. Signature game for him. I’m really happy for him. He is such a good kid and player. He has been in foul trouble and today he was center stage and came through magnificently.”

On “it”:
““It” for us tonight was the toughness, to fight through everything, there is no alternative, and tonight we had “it”. I tell my players all the time, the people on this planet who have “it” are mothers. When something is happening with their kid, there is a sense of urgency that no one on this planet can get to. I tell my players your mothers have it for you, and you should have it for each other.”

On playing Rodney Hood in the middle:
“Yeah, Rodney really handled the ball well. And Rasheed [Sulaimon] and Quinn [Cook] were good on top. We turned the ball over early and we took pretty good care of it after that. If I had to single out one kid it would be Hood. All of our guys contributed. Marshall [Plumlee] played great. We would have used him more in the second half but he had cramps. Every time we tried to sub him in he had cramps. He has to get accustomed to playing more minutes. He gave us a huge lift too.”

On Coach Boeheim’s reaction to the charge call:
“I’m not surprised to see Jim’s fire. That’s why he is one of the greatest coaches in any sport. He reacted to it. I obviously don’t want the game to end that way. I applaud him. We are both pretty old and we still care. To me, he wants to win. That’s why we do the United States thing. He and I are right there. That is how he prepares and that’s why I love him. We are a really good team together”.

On epic games:
“I think it’s great preparation for the tournament. If you are fortunate you may win an epic type of game. The first time we won a national championship we beat UNLV. They had won 45 in a row. When we walked into our hotel it was packed. Everyone was delirious like we had already won. To me that was our greatest national championship because we had to overcome an epic win. A lot of people today would say that we won the national championship that year when we beat Vegas. Like the next year when we beat Kentucky. You have to get past those things if you are going to win. For them, they have a really quick turnaround because they have to go up to Maryland. Maryland is good and fighting like crazy. We have at least one more day to get ready and we are playing home.”

On the future of ACC basketball:
“Our conference after that game should recognize the assets they were able to get. Syracuse, Pitt, Notre Dame, and then Louisville are just the best assets for college basketball that any conference can get. We need to see how not to take advantage of that and not assume we are going to be the best conference, but do all the things necessary to make that happen. The Big East did a great job of that when they had those teams. They did a better job of it than us. They were really good. But we are really good too. Most people felt they were better sometimes. I’m not sure if they were, but how they did it made people believe that.”  

On Jabari Parker’s three point shooting:
“He didn’t take them under pressure. They weren’t taken after a jab or a step back. I’m proud of him because we haven’t practiced it and it’s a huge adjustment. We told him that you are on the perimeter and Rodney is inside. It did give him a chance to look at the basket when receiving the ball instead of coming up with his back turned. In the future when he’s not playing here, pretty much he’s going to be that type of player. Facing the basket, driving, shooting and scoring a lot of points. I thought he started out young in the game, and got old real quick. The last 25 minutes he was a real man.”

Duke Redshirt Sophomore Rodney Hood
On the pivotal play at the end of the game when he took the charge on Syracuse’s C.J. Fair:
“We needed a big play.  They’re a team that’s been in that situation all year, as far as being down or being up a couple points all season long, so they’re veterans in that type of situation.  I knew they were going to C.J. [Fair], their best player, and I tried to keep my eye on him, even though I wasn’t guarding him.  He drove baseline, went left, and I just tried to get there in time.  Regardless of whether they called a block or a charge, I was going to be there and help Tyler [Thornton] out.  I didn’t know [what the call was going to be].  I honestly didn’t know.  At the end of the game, you never know which way things could go.  I thought I was there the whole time, but you never know.”

“The biggest thing is we didn’t let our offense affect our defense.  I started off the half with a couple of short shots, but we kept defending them.  We kept fighting them.  They hit a lot of tough shots.  They’re good players – one through five, they can play.  We stayed true to our game plan and we protected the basket – I think that was the biggest thing – and we played together on the defensive end.  That’s got to be the start of something new.  We’ve got to keep being consistent with that.”

On his success flashing to the high post against the Syracuse zone defense:
“From last game, [we knew that] they play us one-on-one, whoever flashes to the post.  And we made the adjustment because when Amile [Jefferson] got it, they just spaced out, and when Jabari [Parker] got in, they closed in on him.  But when I got it, they all went out and on four or five possessions straight, I got the shot I wanted, whether I missed, got to the free throw line, or scored.  It was a good thing for us, and Coach [Mike Krzyzewski] made a great adjustment on that.  I just tried to be really aggressive in there.

On being in several controversial plays this year at the end of games:
“I’m starting to enjoy it.  I’ve been in [controversial plays] five or six times at the end of the game this year.  I came up short sometimes and I came up big sometimes.  That’s part of being one of the best players on the team – you have to take that chance every time.”

Duke Freshman Jabari Parker
“It’s always a good thing to bounce back after a loss.  We fought, we did a really good job as a team, and had collectively a team effort on defense.”

On playing against the Syracuse zone defense:
“It’s kind of frustrating because they slow down the tempo that we want to play, especially trying to get into our offense and trying to make plays and trying to get their defense to collapse.  With the zone, you have to pick different areas and I think that we’ll just get stronger at it as we go along because a lot of team are going to play us zone and man-to-man.”

On bouncing back from the UNC game on Thursday night:
“It was a really tough time just trying to get focused because it was easy for us to feel bad for ourselves or feel some type of sympathy since we lost so bad.  But we were men, we manned up, and we had to try and do what we had to do today.”

When asked if he thought back-to-back competitive games was a good experience for Duke:
“I kind of think [it’s a good thing], as long as they’re not back-to-back, like the stretch that we had.  But at the end of the day, that’s the way it’s going to be in the ACC Tournament and then the NCAA [Tournament], we’ve got to play back-to-back competitive games, but I think we’re going to get used to it.  But [Syracuse] played a good game too.”

Duke Redshirt Sophomore Marshall Plumlee
“I’m excited to bring whatever I can to the game, whether that’s stats, rebounding, points, or just energy to kind of lift the team.  We all have our roles, and I’m trying to do mine to the best of my ability.”

“A little patience – it’s taken me a little too long to figure out how to show a little patience.  But it’s paying off and the coaching staff has been great working with me and helping develop me.  And my teammates have been really supportive.  I feel more comfortable in my role now than ever, and my teammates are just incredibly supportive.  If we each play our part and really play together, we can be a really tough team.”

On playing in such tense and competitive games:
“I think it speaks to the discipline of our team and, when it counts the most, to band together like we did.  I’m really glad that we showed some discipline out there tonight and some maturity and were able to come away with a W.”

Syracuse Head Coach Jim Boeheim
Opening Statement:
“This was as tremendous a game as we had at Syracuse. This is just two teams playing as hard as they can play. I thought that this was a different game than at Syracuse. It was an offensive game at Syracuse and pretty much an all defense game here. I thought we played as good of a defense as we’ve played all year long. I thought the game was extremely well-officiated, as well as we’ve had all year. I make jokes, but that’s not a joke.  I thought it was tremendously well officiated - three great officials.”

On the block call and ejection:
“The new rule is it’s a block. That’s the new rule; we’ve had it explained a hundred times. CJ (Fair) got in his motion, I saw the replay, and the guy was moving. Simple as that. It’s a new rule, it’s a block. I just wanted to see if I still had it in me to get out there, and I did. I got out there pretty good. I thought I was quick, I stayed down. I didn’t get injured, so all those things are good. That was the game-decider right there. We weren’t happy with that call. The players finished the game and we see what happened. It was a great game, a tremendously well-officiated game, I just didn’t agree with that call. I kind of thought that we would lose the game. I don’t know if I was really thinking that much at the time, but I thought that was the game-decider. I just thought it was the worst call of the year, that’s all. I just hate to see the game decided on that call.”

On losing the last two games:
“That’s awful isn’t it? I just don’t know what to do, I’ll probably cry all the way home. I don’t think we’ll probably play anymore, I think we’ll just give up.”

On tight games:
“We played great. We were down six and we made a great comeback, I thought. We’ve won eight (tight games) this year and lost two. You’re going to lose tight games, it’s part of the nature of the game. We were down six, they made a great move to get back in the game. Tonight we played as well defensively as we’ve played. We had the opportunity to win the game and at the end that’s all you can shoot for. You see pretty much everything over the course of the season, what people try to do against us and we try and make adjustments.”

On the difference between the two games:
“I thought our defense was better. We didn’t let them throw it in and out. We made the guy at the high post make plays. We didn’t let them hit the threes that they got at Syracuse, that was the only really difference we made defensively. That was an adjustment we made. They’re a good defensive team, they’ve gotten better and better. (Cameron Indoor Stadium) is a great atmosphere; it’s a great place to play. Those people up there, they can make all the noise they want. They don’t score any points. We’re a good road team. We come in and play the way we play. We’re the only team that was in the Big East the whole time and had a winning record. This was a great game. Both teams went at it as hard as they could the whole time. This was just a different game. At the beginning of the year, if I could split with Mike (Krzyzewski) I would’ve taken it without any hesitation. It was two great games. People will remember this one for 30 years because the old coach went out there and got a little excited. I think the fans will remember Jim Boeheim down here. Two great games. I’m happy to be a part of it and it’ll be okay to see Duke once next year.”

On the rest of the season:
“This end of the year is important for us. We flew through obviously and escaped a few times. We knew the end of the year would be hard and that’s fine. These games help you. This will help you. This was a tournament game. This will help you. We played slow and you see that in tournaments. We’ve learned a lot and we’ll learn a lot more. We know how tough our next few games are.”