The Blue Devils needed a bounce back game after the debacle in Cameron Indoor Stadium on Tuesday night against Stephen F. Austin. Winthrop came into town with a different agenda all together and gave the Blue Devils all they could handle. The Blue Devils continued their current trend of giving up points in the paint but still managed to both stave off the Eagles and eke out the win 83-70. The game plan was clearly to chase the Eagles off of the 3-point line and Duke did a decent job, allowing the Eagles few open looks and forcing them into under 30% shooting while the Blue Devils themselves shot 58% from beyond the arc.
The Blue Devils were lead in scoring by freshman Matthew Hurt who scored a career high 20 points on 7-13 shooting, Hurt added 8 rebounds and 2 assists. Vernon Carey Jr. continued his double-double streak notching his 6th in a row Friday night with a 17 point, 10 rebound performance. Carey shot markedly better from the free throw line going 7-10, 30% better than his effort Tuesday night. Tre Jones added 6 assists for the Devils although the sophomore guard turned the ball over 5 times, Jones also added 5 rebounds and hit both of his free throws playing 36 minutes. Joey Baker provided the Blue Devils with a huge spark off the bench scoring 16 points and going 4-5 from 3-point range.
The good news for the Blue Devils was seeing Joey Baker and Matthew Hurt rise to the occasion and provide some offense for the Blue Devils who have been lacking in production from anyone not named Vernon Carey Jr. The bad news is that the Blue Devils could very well be without freshmen starter Cassius Stanley for the Month of December – Stanley went down early in the second half with what appeared to be a knee injury, later it was reported that it was a hamstring. Coach K mentioned that he expected the freshmen to be out probably through the Christmas holiday but that further analysis and an MRI was needed to confirm.
HEAD COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI
Opening Statement: “I’ll tell you what, we’re playing some good teams. Pat’s (Kelsey) team is really good, he’s such a good coach and his kids play hard – very difficult to defend. It was a big win for us, especially coming after Tuesday and we played hard and well tonight, not all the time but much different from Tuesday. If we had played like this Tuesday, we would have won and we had to play this way to win tonight. With their two ball handlers, (Russell) Jones and (Chandler) Vaudrin, they put you in some very difficult situations. For Cassius (Stanley), we thought it was his knee right away, heard something pop and structural. Based on what our doctor said right now, it’s not the knee. Something happened with his hamstring so it’s muscular. He will have a MRI tomorrow. We don’t think it’s a knee injury which is very good, although I think he will be out for a while, hopefully after Christmas. That’s my hope. That was adversity and playing against an unconventional group with five three-point shooters — Vernon Carey had to guard a perimeter shooter. Overall, our defense on the three was excellent. They took 21 and made six and then our three-point shooting was outstanding. We had a few kids really step up. I thought Matt Hurt carried us for a long time and Joey Baker was sensational, not just with shooting 4-for-5 from three, but he really played hard defensively and played well. We wouldn’t have won the game without Joey. Jordan Goldwire with Tre (Jones), that’s how we started the season and they were able to put pressure on both their ball handlers: one had Vaudrin and one had Jones. [Jordan Goldwire] had five steals for us. Those kids really stepped up for us. We are a developing team. We’re not the Duke of the last five, maybe 10 years. It’s a different group. It’s old-fashioned and it’s also old-fashioned developing, but our response from the loss – I know those kids felt horribly, felt guilty and you can lose a lot of confidence when you don’t already have confidence. You haven’t played enough to have confidence so for them to play that way tonight, I was very proud of how they responded.”
When asked about players’ confidence: “When you don’t have a blank stare, I don’t know how you really describe not having confidence. It’s tough for me to put into words. You can see it in their eyes. I thought we were putting pressure on ourselves shooting, like we have to make this shot. At one of the timeouts at either the 12 or eight-minute mark, my whole timeout was ‘Look, we’re squeezing the ball. You guys are putting the weight of the world on yourselves, not on the defensive end,’ so I said, ‘Just shoot free.’ Darn it man, Joey came out and he went flying in transition and I said ‘Maybe not that much confidence,’ and boom it went in. We’re going to have to work through a bunch of things like that with this group. It’ll take time and we’re going to try to muck it out and we know we’re not a top five team – maybe not even a top 25 team in the country right now. We’ve beaten good teams and we’ve played well. But now it’s where do we go after a loss and a win this week. It’s a different journey for our fans, for me and it’s a much different journey. We’re not pounding our chests, but we have a great group of kids and they’re working hard. We have a really tough week next week that would be tough even if you were a top-five team.”
On different scorers: “Some of it was necessity with Cassius being out. It’s not set. Everybody has to be ready. We need Alex O’Connell to play like he can play and he can. Wendell (Moore) didn’t have a good night tonight, but he has. We wouldn’t have won against Georgetown without him. We’re going to get some inconsistencies like that and as a result, it’s tough to have a rotation and you have to mix-and-match like who’s having a good night and matchups defensively. That’s the way it’s got to be. We all haven’t played well at one time and that’s not surprising with a group that has not yet achieved. They have great attitudes. It’s just a matter of getting experience – individually and collective.”
SOPHOMORE GUARD TRE JONES
“They were a good team, an awkward team. They could shoot it pretty well. They played a little differently but, we were able to prepare pretty well and down the stretch we were able to make the plays to win the game.”
On bouncing back after the Stephen F. Austin loss: “Just getting back to ourselves tonight. We had a tough couple days of practice. We had meetings and film. I felt like we learned a lot about our team and ourselves over the last couple days. We wanted to just get back to our basketball tonight, get back to Duke Basketball and get back to doing what we do best. We wanted to play defense tonight and have intensity throughout the entire game. Down the stretch we were able to wear them out. They showed signs of being tired and weakness down the stretch and that was when we were able to make those plays and put them away.”
SOPHOMORE FORWARD JOEY BAKER
On a different player performing well each night:
“We have a really balanced team. A lot of different guys can play. It just depends on the team and the matchups and who can get it going that night.”
On his versatility on the floor: “I was just trying to help my team win. Whether that is diving for loose balls or hitting shots, I am just trying to get it done.”
On his versatility on the floor: “Absolutely. Going forward, getting trust from my teammates, coaches and myself. Trying to win, that’s what it all boils down to. Going forward, this is definitely something to build off of.”
FRESHMAN FORWARD MATTHEW HURT
On how he has been able to score the last couple games:
“I think they had a lot of attention on Vernon (Carey); he’s played great so far this year. I just wanted to have my teammates’ backs. Some players won’t have a good night as soon as they want to but having your teammates’ backs is always helpful.”
FRESHMAN FORWARD VERNON CAREY
On defensive changes from Tuesday to Friday: “Better on the ball defense, not letting our guy get past us that easy especially on the perimeter. Being in better help position and rotating better.”
WINTHROP HEAD COACH PAT KELSEY
“The first thing I’d like to say is that my heart goes out to Cassius Stanley. I just talked with Coach K in the handshake line and it didn’t sound great. I wish him the best and hopefully he’ll be able to bounce back. He seems like an extraordinary kid. RJ [Russell Jones] seems to be okay. Both of those kids are tough as nails. “I told our guys after the game that we would be neck and neck rebounding. We only turned the ball over 13 times which is outstanding. You tip your cap to the Duke kids for making a few more big plays and knocking down shots than we did in the last few minutes. We left a couple of opportunities out there and need to do a better job of stepping up and hitting some free throws. Credit those kids from Duke for making plays and finding a way to get it done.”
On if the game is a moral victory:
“No, I’m not really a guy that counts moral victories. That team the other day, Stephen F. Austin proved that you can come in here and win. It’s hard to come here. I told Coach K that I get to one day tell my great, great grandkids that I coached against him. For a kid that grew up on the west side of Cincinnati, that’s pretty cool.”
On mentality in locker room after game: “Disappointing. The mentality that we came here with was to win. We break the game down into 10 four-minute segments. I talked to our guys all week about coming in here with a fearlessness. We talked all week about the B’s, if we have our B game we’d be right in the game. An A-game would be knocking down 16 3s, which would be great, but all week we talked about playing our B-game.”
On Duke’s Vernon Carey Jr.: “[Vernon] Carey down in the post is just a beast. He’s a great talent. He has great handles, great hands and he can finish. You have to force him to miss free throws and tonight he didn’t. Sometimes, that’s the way it goes.”
• Mike Krzyzewski is in his 40th season as Duke’s head coach, and his record is now 1,066-286 at Duke, and 1,139-345 overall in this, his 45th season overall.
• Duke is now 219-35 when playing as a No. 1-ranked team under Coach K – extending NCAA records for most games coached and most wins by a coach of a No. 1-ranked team.
• Tonight’s game was the second meeting between Duke and Winthrop, with series now 2-0 favoring the Blue Devils.
• Duke had four players in double-figure points, marking the sixth time in eight games this season that the Blue Devils had four or more reach double-digits.
• Duke extended its streak of at least one made three-pointer to 1,067 games – the nation’s third-longest active streak.
• Duke was 7-of-12 from three-point range, a season-high percentage of .583.
• Duke bounced back from Tuesday’s overtime setback to Stephen F. Austin – the team has not dropped consecutive games since the 2017-18 season and has avoided consecutive home setbacks since 2015-16 season.
• Tonight’s game marked the 460th consecutive sellout at Cameron Indoor Stadium, dating back to Nov. 16, 1990 — the longest active streak (by time) in either men’s college basketball or the NBA.
• Freshman Vernon Carey Jr., recorded his sixth consecutive double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds on 5-of-10 from the floor and 7-of-10 form the foul line.
• It is the longest streak of double-doubles at Duke since Marvin Bagley III (seven consecutive games) in 2017-18.
• Sophomore Joey Baker scored a career-high 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the field, including 4-of-5 from three-point range. His previous career high was eight points versus Georgia State (11/15/19).
• Freshman Matthew Hurt had career highs in both points (20) and rebounds (eight). His previous highs were 19 points versus Central Arkansas (11/12/19) and five rebounds versus Georgia State (11/15/19).
• Hurt is the fourth different Blue Devil with a 20-point game this season, joining Carey (4), Tre Jones (1) and Cassius Stanley (1) – only five different Blue Devils recorded a 20-point game all last season.
• Sophomore Tre Jones was the fourth Blue Devil in double-figures with 15 points, six assists, five rebounds and three steals.
• Duke is now 22-2 in Jones’ career when he scores in double figures.
• Junior Jordan Goldwire scored six points off the bench (19 minutes) with a career highs in both steals (five) and blocks (two).
• The five steals by Goldwire were the most by a Blue Devil this season, and the most since Zion Williamson had five versus Syracuse in last season’s ACC Tournament.
• Duke plays at Michigan State on Tuesday, Dec. 3 at 9:30 p.m. ET in a Big Ten/ACC Challenge game on ESPN.