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Quotes: Duke 86, North Carolina 78
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 02/10/2017
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Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski
Opening Statement:
“We both played lights out tonight. That’s a great basketball game. Talk about two teams that are deserving to win. They’re really good. I want to thank their staff. Jeff’s [Capel] father has ALS. Their staff is involved and Roy and I are going to do something together. But tonight we did something together just to bring awareness for ALS. Those guys on the other bench are good friends and terrific guys. We rebounded. We had a wash on rebounds. They only had seven offensive. It’s tough to take away the two things they the best- transition and offensive rebounding. It’s tough to take away both. They motor down the court. We did a decent job with it, but on rebounding we really fought hard. That was a key to the game. Grayson [Allen] had an amazing game. The last few ball games he’s played so darn well. Everybody played well. I was really proud of my two freshman big guys. They’re coming on. For them to get the minutes they did today. If you’re a player you have a chance to be tight, to be nervous, it’s a big-time game. They haven’t played to the level that they will play eventually. Jayson [Tatum] in the second half was lights out. Again, it’s a freshman being in a game like this. You can get knocked back and they can knock you back. For me, I think [Justin] Jackson is as good of a player as we have played against all year. His movement, he never gets tired. And [Joel] Berry and [Kennedy] Meeks. They are good. We are good. I am so grateful we won. We beat a really good team and we played very well. God bless us, that was a heck of a win.”

On the end of the game:
“We got a couple stops and with Grayson in foul trouble the last eight minutes or so to still be able to pull it off. We got some defensive rebounds and stops and hit free throws. They came out of time-outs and executed a few things really well. We got some buckets.”

On calling set plays:
“We try to diagram something a little different because you know he’s [Allen] on and then he does it. J.J. [Redick] is here tonight and we did it a lot with J.J. and it works when you have someone who can hit shots. That’s a good maturity to be able to do that from a time out and actually execute. Plays work when you have good players. That’s a player’s game. That was a big time ACC game.”

On Matt Jones’s offensive rebound:
“Well it gave us the possession. I thought Jayson’s [Tatum] three would go in with the crowd and everything. Then Matt [Jones] comes up with the ball. Big play. He’s one of those guys for four years he’s kind of an unsung terrific player, but we know his value. Terrific play.”

On the feel of the team:
“We have had a little more time to practice together. There aren’t the interruptions. We have had more interruptions than six teams. No excuses, just the way it is. Now we have come together. We still can’t practice long. Matt and Amile [Jefferson] are playing hurt so you can’t practice them. At least the guys are on the court. We get individual work with the big guys. Continuity and preparation - we have more of it right now. We’ll show the maturity of our team too by how we respond on Saturday. It’s a quick turn around. It’s like an NCAA tournament where you play that 10 o’clock game Thursday night, it’s Friday morning, and all the sudden you have the 12:15 game on Saturday. We have to see if we can handle that.”

Duke Junior Grayson Allen
“It was a tough game and [North Carolina is] a veteran team, so – I think we were up seven at one point maybe – we knew that they weren’t going to lie down or back down.  We knew they were going to come back because of how good they are.  They’re a great team that made a big run last year and has a bunch of returning guys, so we knew we had to just keep fighting.  We knew they were going to make a run because of their talent, and we just had to make sure we didn’t back down either.”

“It’s huge and it’s another really big win for us, not just because of the rivalry but because [North Carolina is] a great team.  Tonight was a tough game.  We had to fight the whole game and guys had to make big plays down the stretch, come up with stops down the stretch.  Jayson [Tatum] and Frank [Jackson] were put in a position to shoot clutch free throws, and they made them, which was huge for us.  And then our crowd was awesome, like they always are, and tonight they really brought it.”

On the play of Jayson Tatum tonight:
“He was huge.  He did a great job tonight of responding in the second half.  Matt [Jones], Amile [Jefferson], and I were all on him at halftime and Coach [Mike Krzyzewski] was on him at halftime, and he responded really well.  That’s a sign of maturity for him, and he’s so talented.  He makes really big plays like he did, and he had a handful of assists tonight too, which was huge for us.  And those clutch free throws down the stretch were big.”

When asked what he and his teammates said to Jayson Tatum at halftime:
“Just that we need him – It’s plain and simple that we need him and he knows that.  He did a good job of responding.  We thought that he was going to have a good matchup out there on the perimeter, especially with his height and his quickness and his skill level.  He really has a good matchup every game, and we just wanted to keep kicking it to him and keep feeding him and have him make a play.”

“I’m feeling very comfortable and having a lot of fun playing.  I just feel better, getting back into the swing of things, and just playing with a lot of confidence.  And when Coach [Mike Krzyzewski] tells you to shoot the ball, you shoot the ball.”

Duke Sophomore Luke Kennard
“To start it off, the atmosphere was unbelievable.  The Crazies, the crowd, it was fun to play.  It was a great game to play in.  Every game for us is a big game, but obviously the North Carolina rivalry is huge.  It’s been a big thing for a long time, and to be able to play in it, it’s unbelievable.  And to get a win at our home in front of the crowd with these guys, it was great.  It was a really, really big win for us.”

When asked what changed in the second half for Duke:
“I think we came out strong.  The beginning of the second half was really a strong start for us and we needed it.  During the second half, we kind of let up in some spurts, but the toughness that we showed throughout it all was great.  I’m just so proud of the way that we were able to finish it.”

“We wanted to stay calm and stay together.  Obviously Grayson is a big part of our team, and when he’s out, it’s a big loss for us.  But we stayed calm, we were able to kind of control the game a little bit, and we were able to slow it down and get good shots, get a couple of stops.  And when he came back in, he was able to make some big plays for us.  And it’s really, really cool to see some of the young guys step up tonight.  It was huge.  We all grew up tonight.  We were all together, we were all tough, and very unselfish tonight, and it was really fun to play.”

Duke Freshman Jayson Tatum
On Duke’s second half performance:
“It really just shows how dynamic our team is.  Luke [Kennard] was great tonight, Matt [Jones] was great, Frank [Jackson] was terrific tonight.  That’s why our team is so great - when guys are in foul trouble or out, we have other guys that can step up.  And that’s what we did tonight.”

On what it took for Duke to outrebound North Carolina:
“It was tough.  That was a big important [focus] for us because they’re so big.  It just took a lot of effort and everybody pitched in tonight on rebounding.”

On his first experience with a Duke-North Carolina game:
“I didn’t really know what to expect.  I just knew it was going to be great.  The crowd was tremendous tonight.  North Carolina is a great team, and we’re a great team too.  It was just a great game – the whole 40 minutes, nobody was giving in and it just took a lot of hard work and us being together.”

When asked what was different for him in the first half versus his solid performance in the second half:
“I probably was nervous.  I’m not going to lie.  UNC-Duke game, lot of expectations and hype, so I was nervous in the first half, but in the second half I got that all out of the way.”

North Carolina Head Coach Roy Williams
Opening Statement:
“They were very impressive the entire second half. The first half it was up and down; they would make a run, we would make a run. The second half, when it got to 70-70, I thought it would continue like that. We make one of two at the free throw line and go up by one and then [Luke] Kennard comes down and makes two to go up one and we come down and miss the first shot of a one-and-one and then they go down and score, I think it was Jayson [Tatum] that time off of the corner. Jayson was magnificent for them in the second half. He had zero points at halftime and had 19 in the second half. They’re a tough matchup, they made 7 out of 12 threes in the second half. We didn’t make the plays that we needed to in the last three or four minutes. I have to give them credit. We took care of the basketball, we didn’t turn it over, but we still didn’t get the offense that we wanted. We were running our offense 35 feet from the basket. Credit their defense for that.”

On the impact of Isaiah Hicks’ absence:
“Well he didn’t play. North Carolina still played Duke and you can say all of that stuff as an excuse. We would’ve liked to have had him, but North Carolina still played.”

On Kennedy Meeks’ performance:
“They’re good defensively. I didn’t think he moved very well at times. They’re good defensively, they have a lot of guys that are similar size wise and they switch a lot of things. We didn’t get very good movement inside. I was disappointed in that.”

On his team’s free throw shooting performance:
“We were shooting great at practice, so I hope it’s just one of those nights. I didn’t like going 8-for-15 in the second half, that usually gets you beat in close games. You can pick out anything: we didn’t make the free throws, we didn’t run our offense effectively, about three straight possessions we were out there, late clock from 30 feet trying to do something.”

On what his team did really well:
“In the first half I liked the fact that I thought we were focused and bad plays didn’t affect us. We took three or four really bad shots and we jumped them and said something to them at the timeouts and they stopped. They just kept competing and we were getting the ball and moving it and we got better shots every time we moved it. When we took quick shots, we didn’t get very good shots. I didn’t like our rebounding, I didn’t like the lack of scoring from inside. I guess, it’s North Carolina-Duke, the kids are going to be very competitive. I wasn’t disappointed by how competitive it was, but I would’ve liked to have gotten that long rebound when we missed that shot and it was a three-point game. I think that should’ve been our ball – that was probably the biggest disappointment.”

On Duke’s defensive effort:
“We didn’t move, and their defense was part of that. They were good defensively and we took a couple shots that I thought were too quick and never got the basketball inside. When we drove, Joel [Berry II] drove at least twice: one time he lost the ball, and the other time two or three guys were challenging the shot. I like for us to take unchallenged shots.”