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Quotes: Duke 99, Wake Forest 94
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 02/18/2017
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Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski
Opening Statement:
“That was a big win for us. What an offensive game. They’re really good. (John) Collins and (Bryant) Crawford, they can play with anybody. Danny (Manning) has done a great job with implementing such an aggressive style offensively to play. We knew it would be difficult for us and it was. For our group, the best way to teach somebody is to experience it. We’re trying to teach them how hard it is to win. It’s easy to lose; it’s hard to win. It’s not just about ‘I want to,’ or ‘I’m prepared,’ you have to keep an edge. Like if you’ve lost a couple or you’re fighting for the tournament or you don’t like a certain team, whatever people use for edges, when you’re winning a lot you lose them because you’re winning. Last Saturday, I thought we didn’t have it because of emotion. We were just damn tired. Then, I was really proud of my team against Virginia because we had it. We are trying in practice not to create it because we’re not practicing Amile (Jefferson) or Grayson (Allen) because of their injuries. Our kids are up with good attitudes, but there was something missing, that edge, and it showed up defensively in the first half. In the second half, we just switched everything. We thought we can’t go zone, our ball screen defense stinks, let’s switch and if they want to try to take advantage of us inside, at least they won’t be driving and they will be two-point shots and they won’t be getting to the line as much. It was a good trade off. Not that we stopped them, obviously they scored a lot of points, too, but it got us tougher offensively. Our perimeter really played tough and defensive rebounding led to a little bit more aggressive play on the offensive end and then we had a few stops there at the end. Frank (Jackson) was a huge factor in this game. When he came in, there were three straight plays that gave us like a six-point lead. He was terrific. We had some open looks that could’ve nailed the game, but instead it made it even more interesting. And then Amile (Jefferson), God bless him, went two-for-two from the line. Hard fought, good win, and we beat a really good team.”
On team growth and win streak:
“Well we’ve gotten better, obviously, even if we had only won three or four, we would’ve gotten better. All of this stuff before about ‘we’re not together,’ or whatever, that’s a bunch of bologna. These kids have had good attitudes, they just haven’t practiced together, they have been disjointed. It’s not their fault. They’ve had great attitudes. We finally have had everybody together, on one page, fairly healthy, at least they can practice and they’re getting to know one another. At the end of ball games, we’ve been really tough. We’ve made winning stops, winning free throws, winning shots, and it hasn’t been one guy, really in all of the wins. In the last three to four minutes, we were a little bit better than the team we played. That shows toughness, especially at the end. I said it after Virginia, but the guy for us is Matt (Jones). Matt is as tough as can be. Amile (Jefferson) is back to being Amile even though he’s limping around there. We had six balanced, double figure scorers. I could do something a little bit different, too, with my team during the next week or so, but I have to get these guys healthy. We will see what we can do. We’ve put ourselves in the bigger picture here and I can’t afford to lose any of these guys, now that we have them.”

On Marques Bolden’s performance:
“I would’ve used he and Harry (Giles) more in the second half, but we found something and I was afraid that we might lose it. Amile (Jefferson) was able to play. But they’re getting better and Marques’ minutes were very good. It was just that then we would’ve had to defend the ball screen differently.”   

Duke Graduate Student Amile Jefferson
On the spark that Frank Jackson gave Duke in the second half, in particular the play when Jefferson grabbed an offensive rebound and kicked it out to Jackson, who buried a three-point shot:
“On that play, that’s a vintage Duke play.  You look back, however far you go, Duke makes that play, where a big guy or a four, gets that rebound and kicks it out.  It’s like a dagger.  It deflates the other team when you do that.  That’s been a trademark of Duke and our Duke teams.  That’s just a play that we’ve got to make, and Frank did a great job in that second half of giving us a shot of ‘Wake up,’ a shot of adrenaline, and we fed off of it.  That’s what we were missing in the first half and we were able to take a lead because of him, and that lead was the difference in the game.”

On the status of his recovery from injury:
“We’re trying a whole bunch of different things.  Today I put less stuff in my shoe and went with a patch.  It’s getting better and I’m getting better, but I don’t know if I’ll be 100%, but basketball players play through injuries.  I’m going to keep saying that.  That’s what players do – they play through injuries.”

On Duke’s upcoming road trip for two games:
“That’s an amazing atmosphere [in the Carrier Dome] and Duke and Syracuse both have historic coaches and coaches that have a great relationship, so it’s always good to play Syracuse.  We’ve had some big games with them in my time here, so I don’t expect it to be anything less than that.  We have two games next week – we play there and then we go down to Miami, two road games.  This will be a good test for our team to see where we really are.  If we can go on the road and compete and fight and win, then I think this team has really matured.”

Duke Senior Matt Jones
“We played really well on the offensive end.  We really passed the ball well.  Guys were ultra-aggressive and we just found our spots.  As a team, we have confidence in everybody and we just hit shots today.”

On the difference between Duke as a team in the first game against Wake Forest and the game today:
“In that game, we were just trying to buy wins.  In this game, we were trying to not only win but continue to get better, continue to be tough.  And in this game, it was a close game and we were able to pull it out and that’ll help us down the road.  In March, everybody’s good and you’re not going to be able to go out there and blow teams out like you would like.  To be able to be in those situations now, to prepare us for those type of moments is good.”      

When asked about Duke’s improvement over the course of the current winning streak:
“We’re much more confident as a team. Throughout this stretch, we’re starting to find an identity for ourselves and we’re winning in a bunch of ways, whether it be a tight game or on the road and things like that.  So we’re becoming a much tougher team.”

Duke Sophomore Luke Kennard
“Last time we played them, it was the same [close game].  They’ve got a great team, they’ve got really great players, and they’re a really, really good offensive team.  Our game plan was to lock in on defense and we struggled.  We struggled throughout the entire game.  We had a little run in the second half that helped us a lot.  The toughness that we showed tonight just to close it out, it was big.  It was big to win at home and continue this winning streak.  We’re a good offensive team too.  We share the ball, we shoot the right shots, we shoot our shots, and it’s good when we do that, when we’re able to create for each other and really play great basketball.”

On what allowed Wake Forest to get back into the game in the second half:
“We kind of just let up a little bit.  We weren’t really all the way locked in when we needed to get stops.  I’m not really sure what happened, but they’re a good offensive team.  They’re averaging a lot of points every game, and we weren’t able to get stops when we needed to, but we did at some points and it was good for us.”

When asked if Duke has developed more toughness over the course of the current winning streak:
“I think it kind of started at Wake Forest.  To be able to win a game like that in a hostile environment on the road was really, really big.  It continued to build off of that.  We’re continuing to get better, and we’re continuing to be tough.  To win a game like this, it’s kind of a reality check.  We can’t just assume we’re going to win because we’re at home.  We’ve got to bring it every night.  Again, we did show toughness tonight and we were able to close it out.”

Wake Forest Head Coach Danny Manning
Opening Statement:
“One of the first things that jumps out to me looking at the stat sheet is the number of three-pointers that they made. We have to do a better job of going out and contesting at the three-point line. I think they made a few contested threes, but that’s the biggest thing that jumps out to me. In other categories I thought we did all right. We gave ourselves the chance to have some success. We just weren’t able to guard the three-point line the way we needed to in order to come away with the win.”

On battling back:
“That’s what you’re supposed to do when you get down. You’re supposed to fight and grind, and I thought our guys did a good job of that. We probably shouldn’t have been in that situation in the first place if we had done a few things the way we needed to, but Duke went on a run like they always do at home. But we were able to get back into it.”

On scoring well but not enough:
“They scored well from the three-point line. When you look at the stat sheet and a team scores 13 threes and few of them were contested, you want to tip your hat because you want to give up contested shots.”

On comparing Duke now versus the game at Wake Forest:
“That was so long ago, I don’t even remember. I mean obviously, Coach K is back. I think guys are settling into their roles and understanding what is expected of them. Just to give you a basic answer.”

On John Collins’s play:
“Well, John [Collins] is having a terrific year from a production point of view. We’re going to get John the ball. It doesn’t matter if it’s a guard or a big or whoever, we’re going to make sure we get him touches in that low post area because we feel he’s very efficient in that space.”

On multiple close losses:
“We have to continue. We have to find a way. There are no close victories. There are no close, feel-goods. There’s none of that. We have to find a way to get it done for the rest of our conference games.”