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Quotes: Duke 72, Pitt 64
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 02/04/2017
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Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski
Opening Statement:
“Well we won a really good basketball game today. Pitt is good and I especially love those two kids, [Jamel] Artis and [Michael] Young. A long time ago, we used to have a league of them, when no one went early, we had a league of those, they’re older and they’re really good players. Then they’re very well coached. So we felt we beat a really good basketball team today. Matt [Jones] got hurt the very first practice this week and he didn’t practice at all. We were not sure until warm-ups that he would be able to even help us and I thought the little bit that he was in there helped us. But for Frank [Jackson] to play like he did and he hit a couple just huge baskets for us. We shared the ball well, didn’t turn it over, I thought we played really good defense. They’ve been averaging nine made threes a game and they were only able to get off 14 and they made two. I just thought it was a really good basketball game and our guys had some really good looks throughout the game that, that ball was just in and out a couple times and great shots. We just kept telling our guys to keep shooting and don’t worry about the last one worry, you know, put your effort in the next one and we got on a little roll there. So it’s good. I’m proud of my guys. We really played like we’ve practiced. We’ve had really good practices. The last week and a half we’ve had just terrific practices and we’ve gotten better. Hopefully Matt will be completely healthy by next week. We have two big games next week in a 36-hour period, so I just told them let’s get our therapy now, day off tomorrow except for therapy, and keep moving on. What a week.”

On what he said to Jamel Artis and Michael Young after the game:
“I just thought, because I don’t know if we’ll play them again, that it’s, I don’t want to say all the stuff, but just it’s an honor playing. I really like them. You know, 37 years, throughout the time, we as coaches, at least the guys, the veteran coaches, you acknowledge excellence of the other guys. These guys are good players. I mean, they’re really good players and they’ve represented our league really well. Just that, better than a handshake.”

On the difficulty of leaving the team:
“Not hard because I have such confidence in Jeff [Capel] and my staff. Jeff and I have been kind of joined at the hip the last few years, not just with Duke but with U.S., the Worlds in Madrid and in London [2012 Olympics]. He was really my guy. Then Jon [Scheyer] and Nate [James], and I gave Nolan [Smith] a chance. The way we conduct things I think is probably a lot different than people. For the last 20 years, since my last operation, my assistants, especially the associate coaches, have a huge voice. Jeff always gives the scouting report before the game, I add to it. So really the only voice they were missing was mine, but there was a familiarity there. The main thing I wanted to tell all of them was don’t worry, the program’s not going to go into the pot here, no matter what happens, we’ve stood the test of time and not to worry that we’re going to lose everything or whatever, including the kids not to play that way. I’ve been involved a lot, obviously some things have been documented, but I’ve been at practice really for the last couple weeks and the last week I’ve been at the whole practice and kind of conduct it the way I usually conduct it when Jeff and those guys are with me.”

On how the team has progressed during his absence:
“It’s better, and it got better after the loss to State. …Whatever happened with my team was the start of a process, and it’s called team building. I went through it many times as a cadet, many times, as an officer in the military. You don’t get better by doing the same thing over and over again, so everything we did that week was team building. Before they ever went to Wake they were back in the locker room, they had their uniforms, but no one wants to say anything and I’m not going to tell you the story of it. It’s beautiful because it’s team building. That’s what we do.”

On Grayson Allen’s performance in the second half:
“One, we told him to keep shooting. Two, I believe in him. There was one thing later that we did against their zone that was going to get him an open shot if we did it right. It took us two exchanges to get it right and then we got it right. Got to love him, he’s a hell of a player. Our guys want to get the guy, just like Luke [Kennard] against Wake, the guy who is shooting, they pull for each other and the perimeter is really coming together like that really nice.”

Duke Graduate Student Amile Jefferson
On what allowed Duke to create some separation and pull away from Pittsburgh late in the second half:
“Coach started calling sets for us and we started going to them and they were working.  And then our guys took big-time shots.  Some of them rimmed in-and-out.  I think we went three straight possessions where we had threes just go in and then rim out, and we didn’t let that phase us.  [Pittsburgh] made a run, we kept fighting, and then we hit gutsy shots.  Frank [Jackson], Grayson [Allen], they hit big-time shots.  Jayson [Tatum], in the second half, played great and we just kept fighting.”

“Having Coach K back was unbelievable.  He brings a sense of urgency and verve to our team that makes us better.  It helps us to be focused and locked in.  He was great today.  I think he felt great, he was in it the whole time, he was calling actions, and our guys fed off of it.  To have him back, especially in a home game, our fans were amazing – it was great.  I think he brought what he always brings.  He’s amazing, as a coach, as a leader, as a bringer of emotion and toughness, and when we get on his bus and just follow the energy and the verve that he has, we’ll be a really good team.”

On the upcoming matchup with North Carolina:
“It’s an unbelievable, historic rivalry, two amazing programs, so it’s an honor to play in this game and to play against a really good team next Thursday.  We have two games in a little over 48 hours – we play Thursday, Saturday against a really good Clemson team, and they both count as one [game].  We have to be great this week in practice and know that it’s going to be a really huge game and everyone’s going to talk it up.  It’s an amazing game.  To be a part of that game is great and we’re going to go out there and try to get the win.”

Duke Junior Grayson Allen
When asked what was different for him in the second half (18 second-half points versus three points in the first half):
“I made shots.  I had a lot of open looks in the first half and they weren’t falling.  I knew if I’d missed a couple then the next couple have to go it, so I just kept shooting and Coach [Mike Krzyzewski] was telling me to keep shooting and then they started to fall.”

On what allowed Duke to pull away from Pittsburgh late in the second half:
“I think we did a better job of attacking their zone.  They’re very tough because they’re so big.  Their starting five, they have like five guys between 6’-6” and 6’-9”, so they’re a really long team and they can play that zone really well.  We had to just keep attacking and keep moving the ball around, making sure that we were making good passes that they weren’t deflecting.  I think we got a little bit adjusted to that in the second half.”

“I think today was big for us because shots didn’t fall for us at first and we stayed in the game with our defense and being able to limit them to not as many opportunities.  They scored the ball in the second half well – and the first half as well – just because of how talented they are.  They’re great one-on-one players, everyone on their team can post up, and so they’re tough to guard.  I think it was really our defense that did a good job of keeping us in the game today, and I think that’s something we can continue to get better at.”

On having Coach Mike Krzyzewski back on the bench today:
“It was nice to have his energy.  His energy, his fight, his look, seeing him in the huddle is big for us.  Coach [Jeff] Capel and his staff did a great job and they made sure that the program stayed up while Coach was gone, but, you know, having Coach back and having his face and his energy on the sidelines was nice.  He was excited to be back.  His passion for the game and for Duke basketball is unmatched – it’s through the roof.  So when he came back, he was full of excitement and just ready to get going and really got us going too. ”

On the upcoming matchup with North Carolina:
“We do have a big one on Thursday, so it’s all about the recovery and then having good preparation for this game.”

Duke Freshman Jayson Tatum
On the upcoming matchup with North Carolina:
“I’m excited for it.  This is one of the reasons you come to Duke, to be a part of the Duke-UNC rivalry.  It’s going to be a good game.  They’re good and it’s going to be a great day.”

“[Duke is] definitely [heading] in the right direction – three wins in a row, two on the road and one at home.  We’re definitely going in the right direction.  We’ve just got to build on each game.”

Pittsburgh Head Coach Kevin Stallings
Opening Statement:
“I am disappointed for my players. I thought they competed really hard and really well. Duke’s shot-making, in the end, was kind of the difference. They made shots and we could not. Our twos could not beat their threes in the second half, but our guys fought hard and fought well. I am really disappointed for them because obviously I would have liked to have a different outcome. I thought Mike [Young] was really effective, and I thought Jamel [Artis] was effective at getting the ball to the basket. We did not have enough help for him today. I thought Rozelle Nix came off the bench and did a really nice job. Anyway, it was a tough game to lose, but I still have good feelings about my team. They competed. They competed really hard.”

On wanting more three-point shots:
“I would have been happy to have three-point shots if we could have gotten them. But, I thought they did a good job of pressing up on our shooters, and when we had looks we did not make many. Today was not a day where we were shooting it well. Even Mike and Jamel missed badly a few times. Certainly we would have loved to make more threes, but I thought it was a combination of their defense and… but even the ones that we got we missed and some we missed very badly. It just did not feel to me like we were going to make a lot of them, and it felt like our best success was going to be to continue to go inside and drive it at the goal.”

On the team’s slow tempo at the beginning of the game:
“It was just dictated by the game. They are a little deeper than we are, just a little. We felt like we would take opportunities to run when we could, but if the opportunity was not there, then we were content with trying to run offense.”

On whether the team’s slow tempo was due to playing a top 25 ranked team on the road:
“That is a lot of it. We have to play in a way that gives us the best chance to win. If fewer possessions in a game gives us the best chance to win, then that is the way that we need to play. My job is to put our guys out there and give them the best chance for success, so that is what we are doing.”

On perimeter defense:
“Yeah, they just have so many shooters. They have so many guys that can make it. At half time, we felt great because they had only made three three-pointers, and we told our team that if we hold them to three this half, then this could have a happy ending. We were not able to. Again, we are challenged in some different ways, and we are doing the best that we can to cover up those challenges. You know what, we defended okay. We had a stretch there where they threw some shots in against us, but they are a terrific shooting team. They could really make them. That is why they are here playing.”

On the team’s takeaway from losing two-consecutive games on the road:
“I told our team that I think we are a heck of a lot better team than we were a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately, that and a quarter will get you nothing. I do not even know if it will get you a phone call anymore. I feel like we are a better team, and I feel like we are getting better. All we can do is keep trying to get better and hopefully knock the door down and start having some success.”

On the key to getting over the hump:
“It can be anything. It can be getting stops when you need them or it can be getting a big basket when you need it. It can be trying to keep a team out of a run. They had that three-minute stretch there where bang, bang, bang they hit us. [Grayson] Allen made some shots, and [Jayson] Tatum made some shots. Our margin for error is slim, especially in games like this or in games like both of these games this week. Our margin for error is pretty small and pretty fine, and we tried to manage to it. For the most part, we did all right. Again, they just have too many guys and too many weapons, and we were not able to cover them up well enough.”