DUKE HEAD COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI

Opening statement: “Just a heck of a game. They’re a very good basketball team. Now that they’ve got their whole team together that’s their sixth game… I think they can play with anybody. That’s a big time win for us because their crowd was great, and they were really good. They knocked us back at the beginning of each half and our kids responded. Our defense the last 12 minutes of the first half was outstanding. I thought Javin [DeLaurier] gave us a big boost in how he ran the court. Then, in the second half, they came out and we gave them nine quick points and it looked like the whole thing was going to turn. Our kids showed some amazing toughness. They really hung in there. Cassius [Stanley], who was not playing as well as he has been playing, played great. He responded [by] coming off the bench after a timeout and made some sensational plays. I just think our kids were real tough. They made some big plays, Tre [Jones] and Jordan Goldwire defensively. Tre hit a big bucket. One of the big buckets was the offensive rebound on the free throw by Vernon [Carey Jr.] which gave us a two-possession lead and then our defense was good. Their big guys really hammered us on the boards, but they were 10-for-31 [shooting] and that worked out well. We beat a really good team in a very tough environment and both teams played really hard tonight. It’s a heck of a win for our kids.”

On Javin DeLaurier’s late substitution into the game: “Just some energy on defense. A big change in the first half… we had to change how we defended the ball-screen. They were just killing us. We read it or trapped it and that worked for the [first] half. In the second half, we didn’t do it as well and they kind of responded. Then we had to change a little bit with that. Jack [White] made a couple big plays – the three but also a block. It’s the way our team’s been. It’s like a collection of guys hopefully doing enough to come up with a big-time… that’s a big-time win tonight.”

On Duke’s successful defense around the rim: “Not with our rebounding, but yes overall. They also had to defend the ball-screen with [Jose] Alvarado. And Alvarado is a very, very crafty guard, so that’s not easy for a big guy to help with that and still play the big. So overall, good. But it was going to be where they win some and we win some – it was that kind of game. I thought both teams played so hard. The crowd was great. I thought they really supported their team and that made the win even a little bigger for us.”

On Cassius Stanley coming off the bench: “He wasn’t playing aggressively. He’s going to have a ‘zero’ stat line, except they would have gotten pluses. For a freshman, especially, to turn that around in a game – an away game. That’s huge. That shows a lot about that kid. He made some sensational plays, some sensational plays. He ran the court a couple times big time. Javin in the first half and him in the second… they differentiated us. We won that round, so to speak, in a 15-round fight.”

On Vernon Carey Jr. facing James Banks: “I think James Banks’ length will bother a lot of people. For Vernon overall, I thought he did a really good job. It’s his 15th college game and also he now is the focal point of people trying to stop us. That’s a lot… Vernon’s done a great job. In the second half, we were not strong with the ball. They came out strong and we’re catching it with one hand and all of a sudden – boom – they got it and go. Once he put two hands on it, it was a little bit different.”

 

SOPHOMORE GUARD TRE JONES

On what the team did to pull away down the stretch: “Probably the thing that’s really helped us in every game this year – playing defense, really. We really sat down on the defensive end in those last few possessions. We got tough rebounds, tough plays. Jav (Javin DeLaurier) got a block, came down with the rebound, they fouled him, he had a one-and-one, hit both free throws, we came back and got another stop, went back [and] hit free throws again. Our defense once again – it seems like we say this game after game, but it’s so true that it’s definitely what’s getting us the wins right now.”

On his big shots down the stretch: “My teammates are just always believing in me. Just today being my birthday, I wanted to play a great game obviously, but in the middle of the game like that, a great atmosphere here in Atlanta, [my] teammates were there for me. I didn’t have the best game, I would say, but down the stretch, I just felt comfortable with the ball in my hands and Coach is calling plays for me, just believing in me and trusting in me and I just took what the defense gave me.”


FRESHMAN CENTER VERNON CAREY, JR.

On what the message was after Georgia Tech regained the lead in the second half: “Just to pick it up on defense – that’s what Coach really talked to us about in the huddle before. We went onto the court, made a little run I think, just picking up on defense and being more physical, and [being] more aggressive [like] he told us to be.”

On how his matchup with Georgia Tech C James Banks III motivate him: “His length disrupted me a little bit on the offensive end, so I just had to be more physical than him because he was pushing me [and] I was pushing him, so just the physicality really.”

On what kind of energy the team gets from Cassius Stanley’s dunks: “It lifts the whole team, especially with us on the defensive end, because just his energy really. It brings us a lot of energy.”


FRESHMAN GUARD CASSIUS STANLEY

On what the message was near the end of the game: “Finish it out, keep your head – just win and get out of here.”

On learning how to win a close game: “Coach told us ahead of time [that] we’re not going to blow this team out, it’s going to be a fight and he was like ‘This is a real ACC game.’ Even in the middle of the game, he was like ‘This is more like an ACC game,’ and so he was just telling us we’ve got to tough it out, got to be a dog, it’s going to be tough, so that’s what he told us.”

On if he was surprised by how close the game was down the stretch: “No, I wasn’t. Coach stressed earlier, he was like ‘Look, we’ve had a couple blowout games, games we blew out teams, but this is going to be a game.’ He told us we’re just a veteran team, very well experienced and they really wanted to beat us so we knew it was going to be a really tough game.”

 

GEORGIA TECH HEAD COACH JOSH PASTNER

Opening statement: “First off, I obviously want to give a lot of credit to Duke and Coach K and their program. They’ve got a great team, a lot of great players. Obviously, he’s one of the greatest coaches, maybe the greatest ever to coach, regardless of sport. So, you’ve got to give Duke a lot of credit, they’re very, very good and obviously a legit team that can win a National Championship.” “All you can ask for is a chance to win the game, we had some chances. I will say we’ve continued to get better. Our guys have always fought and competed. We got down 11 in the first half and they scrapped, clawed, punched, kicked, fought for us to give ourselves a chance to win the game against an elite team like Duke. I was proud of our guys’ effort. And again, like I said, we continue to get better. We had some turnovers in the first half and that bit us in the butt. We had 10 in the first half and that’s where they got their 11-point lead. We fought back, got the lead, but those turnovers, again, just end up biting you in the rear.”

“James Banks, back-to-back games where he’s had a great motor. I thought Moses Wright played his tail off. He and James obviously missed a lot of short shots, but I can live with that in a sense because they played so hard. Everything we talk about is motor. Michael Devoe dove on the floor multiple times, came up with some great 50/50 balls. Bubba Parham, great 50/50 balls. Obviously, Jose [Alvardado] was tough and hard-nosed. Obviously, our guard play, we’ve just got to limit some of those turnovers, but I was proud of all the guys and we’ve gotten better. That’s a great team that we played, a team that’s good enough to win the National Championship.”

On running out of steam offensively over the final three minutes of the game: “Yeah, we probably got a little tired because we exerted so much energy to get back. I was just talked to Marvin Lewis and I was telling him, it would be nice if there was somewhere you could steal some minutes, maybe give a little rest to those guys. It’s just hard when you get yourself down against a good team like this. You lose your margin of error and you’re struggling to score and then what happens is you just fight and claw to get yourself back in front, and you do, and you exert so much energy that it’s hard to sub at that time because you’re just kind of moving. But it is what it is. We missed a lot of short shots right at the rim. And all you can ask for is an opportunity to get there. We missed a couple of open looks, and when I say you could live with it, in a sense, as a coach, is all you can ask for is you give yourself a chance to win the game and we had some opportunities.”

On the difference it makes having Jose Alvarado back in the lineup: “With Jose I think we’re a pretty good basketball team, and without Jose we were just highs and lows. We were maybe a little better than average. And that’s nothing against our guys, because we have really good players, it’s just Jose does a lot for us that doesn’t show up in the box score with his leadership, toughness, he helps other guys on the floor. So, without Jose it just puts so much pressure on a guy like Michael Devoe to have to defend, rebound, score, and a guy like Bubba Parham, he’s got to do so many other things and other guys have to do so many other things. It just takes the pressure off of guys.”

On defending Duke’s transition offense: “They are so fast. I thought Cassius Stanley was so fast, what an incredible athlete. And Tre Jones is obviously really good. Some of those fast breaks were based on our turnovers and a couple times that we scored they were just right down our throat the other way. But I told both announcers who were doing the TV game today, I said they’re an elite – probably the best transition offensive team in the country. I don’t think anyone is better than them in how fast they are in transition offense.”

 

Team Notes

• Mike Krzyzewski is in his 40th season as Duke’s head coach, and his record is now 1,073-286 at Duke, and 1,145-345 overall in this, his 45th season overall.

• The game marked the 97th meeting between Duke and Georgia Tech, with Duke leading the series 74-23, including 29-15 in road games in this series.

• Duke has won 13 consecutive games in the series against Georgia Tech, the team’s longest active streak over an ACC opponent.

• Duke has held six consecutive opponents to fewer than 65 points.

• The Blue Devils took a 40-29 lead into halftime, marking the eighth time this season they have led by double digits at the break this season. Duke held a halftime lead of 10+ points in 10 games last season.

• The game was the ninth this season in which four Duke players reached double figures in scoring (Vernon Carey Jr., Cassius Staley, Tre Jones and Matthew Hurt). It was also the fifth game that the freshman trio of Carey, Stanley and Hurt all scored 10+ points.

Player Notes

• Sophomore Tre Jones scored 16 points on 5-of-7 shooting and matched his career high with eight rebounds. He had seven assists, marking the eighth game this season with seven or more, with four steals and one blocked shot.

• Jones recorded the first game in Duke history with the following stat line: 16+ points, 8+ rebounds, 7+ assists and 4+ steals, and 1+ block.

• Freshman Cassius Stanley scored 14 points, including eight in the second half. Stanley had a career-high four dunks on the night with three coming in the second half.

• Freshman Vernon Carey Jr., scored 14 points, marking the 11th time this season he’s scored 14+.

• Junior Jordan Goldwire played a career high 37 minutes.

Next Game

• Duke hosts Wake Forest on Saturday, January 11 at Cameron Indoor Stadium at 8 p.m. ET on ACC Network.

Brian Horace

Brian Horace

I’ve been a Duke fan for as long a I can remember, been actively writing about the team since probably 2006 or so, seriously since 2009. I am a homer so expect no less than that. I always welcome suggestions no matter how blunt. I am also a huge music fan, not genre specific and by music fan I mean music snob. Enjoy.

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