DUKE HEAD COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI
“I thought our kids defensively played extremely well and there were longer segments of the game when we played offense well. We still turned it over a little too much, but overall the effort was excellent the whole game. This was Bellarmine’s first game in Division I. They’ve been a powerhouse in Division II and for those kids to play in tonight’s game was historic. That’s how hard his [Scott Davenport’s] team played. We knew that coming in. We think they’re good anyways but tonight, they were going to play for God and country … which is their program. If you know their program at all, it’s one of the outstanding programs in the country. He’s done a magnificent job with it. We went with a different lineup and we’re still learning so much about our team. There were things we didn’t like that we were doing and not putting our team in the most advantageous position, so we went bigger. I thought Mark [Williams] did a really good job for us. Obviously Jaemyn [Brakefield] did. We got more out of our big guys in there. Jalen [Johnson] got two quick fouls, and we’re trying to incorporate offensively to get a better half court offense. Today was better but you have two days of preparation working out with one unit and all of a sudden, it’s a different unit. We’re just a young team and we have to just keep playing hard. At the start of the second half, our defense was outstanding for the first 10 minutes. Two of our veterans, Matt Hurt and Jordan Goldwire, really led us well tonight. Overall, I’m pleased. We congratulate Bellarmine for an outstanding effort and thank them for coming. This was a special night for me to have our program honor Dr. Onye Akwari.”
On tonight’s offensive ball movement:
“Another aspect is our guys just getting to know one another. We are not a veteran team … we have seven of 11 guys who are new. We’re not coming back with three starters who play 30 minutes a game or eight upperclassmen. You have to get to know one another and it won’t be a well-oiled machine but it has to be a hard working machine. A machine that keeps cutting down on the turnovers. We have to keep working and keep trying to get better. The attitude of our kids is terrific.”
On Jaemyn Brakefield’s game development:
“When we started the season, there was a bit more dribbling and he’s not a kid who should dribble a lot. He didn’t function as well in it because he wasn’t going to his strengths. Even before we made some changes offensively, we told him his game will adapt to ours … not to change his game. His is more limited dribbles, he’s a smart player and can space the court and he’s a good defender. He’s a tough kid. He’s easy to play with because he can space the floor. 4-for-4 from the three is outstanding. It’s obvious he can shoot and we have to make sure he’s put in position. He can spread us a bit which gives Matt [Hurt] more room. We’re getting there. We just have to keep going. This is a work in progress and I hope it will be a good work.”
On Jalen Johnson’s early foul trouble:
“Experience. He fouled … there’s no excuse. You only get five of them and if you get two in the first couple minutes, that’s going to affect your game. It would effect anyone’s game, even a veteran but it really affects a young player. He just has to learn from it. He came back in the second half and for a stretch, he and Matt played really well together. We got some easy half court baskets when he’s playing that way. We’re going to need him to play at a high level. He did some good things tonight. Obviously, he wasn’t able to play at a high level with that foul trouble.”
On Mark Williams’ performance:
“The way we were playing before, it’s what they call a ‘read spot’ in the NBA … some people call it a dunk spot where you play on the baseline and come in. He was adapting to that but he’s better in what we’re doing. He’s a smart player and is ball friendly. He’s able to keep some balls alive by knocking them out. He got seven rebounds but he knocked out a couple to keep it alive.”
On the play of the point guards:
“I’d like to say they aren’t just point guards … they’re guards and they can play together. J Gold [Jordan Goldwire] gives us that leadership and Jeremy [Roach] can start with him or play with him. Because of Jalen’s foul trouble, the perimeter got a lot of minutes. J Gold is playing really solid right now. For us, we’ll shoot the ball better. I’m saying that with 13-for-26 from three but that’s because two guys were unbelievable. Jaemyn and Matt were 10-for-12 … that’s really good. Our perimeter can shoot better than what it’s doing. Again, it’s not just about starting. It’s about different lineups you can have in there. The more we play, the more familiar they will get with one another.”
SOPHOMORE FORWARD MATTHEW HURT
“Our first two games, we started the second half really bad, and there were some [bad] stretches in the first half. I think just trying to close out the first half strong [was important] because we don’t want it to happen like a Michigan State or a Coppin State second half again. Just trying to keep the energy, keep playing defense, and get the open look.”
On the importance of ball movement on offense for Duke:
“It’s going to be key for us. We don’ have a Zion [Williamson] or a Jayson Tatum on our team, so we’re just scoring together and just trying to make the right play and make the extra pass.”
When asked about the value of having a shot blocker like Duke freshman Mark Williams on the floor on defense:
“He’s one of the best shot blockers I’ve ever seen in person. Just knowing that he has my back, so I can push up and contest more because he’s probably going to block the shot, it makes a big difference for me and my teammates as well.”
On how he feels on the court now with the additional muscle he added over the summer:
“I feel a lot more confident. I feel good with the weight I’m playing at, just trying to be aggressive and play through contact, finish above taller people, and just shooting my shot. I’m just very confident.”
On the upcoming matchup against Illinois:
“Half our team, [tonight] was the third game of their college career. The physicality on Tuesday is going to be crazy. They have great players at Illinois, but we’re going to stick to the game plan and have solid defense and create for others.”
FRESHMAN FORWARD JAEMYN BRAKEFIELD
When asked what was different tonight compared to Duke’s previous game, a loss to Michigan State:
“It all starts with preparation. We prepared, and obviously we watched film of the last two games, so we prepared to not make another mistake like that again. We just came out hungrier. As soon as we finished the game against Michigan State, we didn’t want that to happen again. Every day is a new day. Following Tuesday and Wednesday, we talked about it and ever since then, we’ve prepared for this game and tomorrow we’re going to prepare for Illinois.”
On his strong shooting performance tonight:
“It feels great. It all starts with preparation and confidence. We prepare every day to make shots like that. That’s why we’re at Duke. [My teammates] give me the confidence to make shots like that. I just feel like I do what I can do. I bring it every day, bring myself every day, because every day’s a new day and you can’t worry about yesterday. Just keep progressing, I just keep my head down and work.”
On what he’s learned about this Duke team so far this season:
“I just learned that we all complement each other really well. Everybody plays to win and after every game when we get together and just build on the mistakes we made, and just talk about everything we did.”
BELLARMINE HEAD COACH SCOTT DAVENPORT
‘Like I’ve said all week, first of all, I want to thank Coach Krzyzewski and Duke University. This was incredible. I mean this is the highest of the highest level and, for our players, one of the keys tonight that we said is don’t take anything for granted. I thought in terms of the game, I thought with three minutes to go we got a little lax in there. It’s not a secret, we have been shut down and paused (for COVID protocols). We had individuals Tuesday, practice Tuesday afternoon. We had an individual session with everybody on Wednesday morning and we practiced Wednesday afternoon. We practiced Thursday morning and because of being safer, which was putting our players first, we finished at noon and took an eight hour and 40-minute bus ride over here last night. If I told you going into the game that points in the paint were going to be 38-30, Bellarmine, and that the free-throw line was going to be even, wow. You’ve got to give them credit because they go 13-26 from the three-point line. Okay, Bellarmine Duke, you pick your poison. Like (Jaemyn) Brakefield goes 4-for-4 from the three, we hadn’t seen that in the first two games. So, I’m incredibly proud of our guys. At the under four timeout, I told them how much I loved our team.”
On overcoming the slow start:
“I know we had the three days of preparation and a walk-through today. It wouldn’t have made a difference if we had six months. It was impossible to simulate their physicality, their athleticism and take it in denying us in what we wanted to run. At the under 12 [timeout] on, our players adjusting to their overplaying and their heating us up offensively was tremendous. We come in here at halftime, it’s a 10-point game and in the last two minutes, we miss two free throws and give up a three on a tap out. If you go back and watch the film, we missed two free throws and they get a tap out three. If they don’t get those, it’s a five-point game at halftime. So, we adjusted tremendously.”
On his players getting the opportunity to play in Cameron:
“Well the great thing is, they are so appreciative. [When we walked in for our 11:30 walk-through], they couldn’t get those phones out of their pockets fast enough to start taking pictures, and we let them have their time. They earned it. They have earned it. Again, it’s one of the most iconic places in all of college basketball. It’s Cameron Indoor Stadium, Mike Krzyzewski. They do a tremendous job. The banners they have are all inspiring.”
On whether the delayed season impacted his team:
“I think it’s no different than anyone in college basketball not having the exhibitions, not being able to have all the scrimmages etcetera. Then we had the pause, and that is difficult. They had two games under their belt. That is difficult but I’ll be fair, we played eight guys tonight and seven of them are returning players so that part is to our credit.”
• Mike Krzyzewski is in his 41st season as Duke’s head coach, and his record is now 1,086-292 at Duke, and 1,159-351 overall in this, his 46th season overall.
• The game was the first for Bellarmine in its program history at the Division-I level.
• Duke improved to 121-33 all-time when playing as the No. 6-ranked team in the AP poll.
• Duke is now 32-5 following its last 37 losses.
• The Blue Devils have now connected on at least one three-pointer in 1,093 consecutive games, which is the second-longest active streak in the nation.
• All 11 Blue Devils that played in the game scored at least two points and nine of the 11 had at least one rebound.
• Duke was 29-of-56 (.518) from the field and 13-of-26 (.500) from three-point range – marking a season high for both makes and percentage from three-point range. The Blue Devils have been .500+ from the field in two of three games this season.
• Duke’s 13 made threes marked the team’s most in a game since hitting 13 at Virginia (2/9/19).
• Duke is now 14-4 when playing on December 4.
• Sophomore Matthew Hurt recorded his second consecutive 20-point game with 24 points (one shy of career high) and six rebounds on 9-of-12 shooting from the field, including a career-best 6-of-8 from three-point range.
• It marked the first time in his career with back-to-back 20-point efforts after scoring 21 points with 13 rebounds against Michigan State.
• Freshman Jaemyn Brakefield set a career high in scoring for the second straight game by finishing 4-of-6 from the field, including 4-of-4 from three-point range for 12 points and a career-high six rebounds in a career-high 16 minutes. He scored 11 points in the Michigan State game.
• Brakefield is the only freshman in Cameron Indoor Stadium history to go 4-of-4 from three-point range, and is just the third Duke freshman to do it in any game, joining Mike Dunleavy vs. Clemson (3/10/00, ACCT) and Andre Dawkins at Wisconsin (12/2/09).
• The last Duke player to go 4-of-4 from three-point range in any game was Ryan Kelly vs. Penn (1/1/12).
• Senior Jordan Goldwire finished with seven points, six assists (one shy of career high), five rebounds and three steals in 32 minutes.
• Freshman Mark Williams set career highs for points (five), rebounds (seven), assists (three), blocks (four) and minutes (15).
• Freshman DJ Steward’s six assists were a career high.
• Freshman Henry Coleman III scored his first career points as he finished 2-of-3 from the field for four points with two rebounds and two steals.
• Graduate transfer Patrick Tape scored his first points as a Blue Devil.
• Duke is off until Tuesday when No. 5 Illinois visits Cameron Indoor Stadium for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge presented by Continental Tire. The game tips at 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.