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 DUKE HEAD COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI

Opening Statement: “I thought Lafayette just played so hard. They have a difficult offense to defend because they go through their big guy [Kyle Jenkins], and he’s big, but he’s also a good basketball player. He can pass, he’s got poise, and we’re running all around. Overall we did an excellent job against them. But they’re good and he’s (Fran O’Hanlon) a hell of a coach so they were primed for us. I think in the first half we got off to the 23-6 lead, and we didn’t let up, but we couldn’t hit a shot. They were playing good defense but even around the bucket, we fell into that trap that can happen to basketball players and teams where you let that influence the next play. You’re not thinking or talking on defense, and that’s what happened. In transition, we weren’t pointing and talking. We had three open threes and it all had to do with ‘Man I should’ve hit that shot.’ No, you should run down the court and play defense. We talked about it at halftime and how the only consistent part of a game you can have is to play good defense, and we’ve been playing great defense. Our offense has affected our defense, and in the second half, it didn’t do that. We played much more mature. Our two big kids [Mark Williams and Theo John] played great, they combined for 18 points and 21 rebounds. And they had to play against the big guy not just away from the basket but at times also at the basket. The fullcourt layup by Theo after stealing was terrific, and then his dunk … Then the one play for Mark. I would call it persistence where he tried, and tried, then all of a sudden dunked it. That was a great play for him because he fought through that adversity. It was a heck of a performance by those two big kids. Then there’s AJ [Griffin]. He’s been coming. Hitting those shots is one thing, but the reaction of our team is terrific. Our team really pulls for one another. They were really happy for him. I don’t think in my 42 years there’s ever been a kid happier to get in a game than Stanley (Borden) … We beat a great team tonight, we have our day off tomorrow, then one day prep for Citadel. We gotta just keep moving. ”

 

On AJ Griffin in practice: “He’s getting in shape. He was out for two and a half weeks, and just so you know he didn’t play in high school for two years. It’s a big learning curve, but he’s in better shape now. It’s not just one or two plays, he can play multiple plays. Obviously, he shot well but he can shoot. He has one of the softest shots. Just keep coming and he’ll make us better.” 

 

On Lafayette’s zone defense: “We had good looks. I don’t like it when a coach says ‘We just missed shots,’ and I don’t mean it that way. They played really well. I still think we have some looks we can hit. We expected them to play zone, so it wasn’t unexpected, we just haven’t played it as much. It’s probably a combination of all the stuff, but it would be nice to hit a three in there instead of it bouncing all over the place. Again, they played hard, they were good.”

 

On the closeness of the team: “They’re a really close team. They’re all into winning and they want each other to be successful. They’ve been like that in practice, they’re just a really good group, and they’re very close and close with us [coaches]. About three weeks ago on my XM show, we had Jason Kidd. He’s a good friend and was my captain in Beijing, and I asked him about playing with the best European player ever, Dirk [Nowitzki]. I said, ‘Now you have one of the top five or 10 players in the country, what about him (Luca Dončić)?’ and he said, ‘Coach, God gave him a lot of great genes.’ I said, ‘How big is he?’ He said, ‘6’8”, 240. But the best gene he gave him was competitiveness.’ The only thing Dončić is concerned with is the score, and that’s my thing with the ‘next play.’ A basketball player, to be really good, has to have that, the only thing they’re really concerned about is the score, and what’s happening now because you don’t have time to think between plays. Otherwise, you’re hurting yourself and that’s the thing we’ve been trying to develop with our guys. It didn’t work for 8-10 minutes today, but overall it’s going pretty well.” 

 DUKE JUNIOR FORWARD WENDELL MOORE JR.

When asked what he was able to do to help Duke pull away from Lafayette midway through the second half: “At that point, we got two or three stops in a row, which allowed me to get out in transition and make plays. Just getting out in the open floor, finding guys in transition, guys finding me in transition, I was able to get a little and-one, hit another layup, and then I ended up hitting a three. But all of those were open shots because my teammates were able to find me.”

When asked what Duke did differently in the second half in defending against Lafayette’s Kyle Jenkins: “He was getting a lot of open shots in transition. We were letting our offense affect our defense, and that caused us not to get back on defense. So he was getting open threes, open layups, just really anything he wanted. I feel like we kind of locked in in the second half and played defense how we’re used to playing defense. It was a lot tougher for him to get the shots he wanted.”

On the play of Duke freshman forward AJ Griffin: “I knew he was a phenomenal player. It was only a matter of time before the rest of the world was going to be able to see it. He’s such a phenomenal player. I knew it wasn’t going to take long for everybody to know really how good he is. The work he’s been putting in in the offseason and in practice, I’m just really so proud of him that he’s able to come out here and show this tonight because these past two years haven’t been easy for him at all. Anybody could’ve really just given up at that point, but he stuck with it. And for him to keep going, that’s a huge thing for him. I’ve seen it coming from day one. Really, for him, he hasn’t played basketball in three years, so we knew it was going to be an adjustment for him. I knew that one day the world was going to know how good he was.”


DUKE FRESHMAN FORWARD AJ GRIFFIN

When asked if he could identify at what point in the game he knew he was going to have a great shooting night: “I think after the second [three-pointer] I hit. I just come into every game with the same mindset, and the coaches and the players, they’ve been helping me and encouraging me. I kind of just enjoy embracing the moment. I just had a lot of fun out there.” 

“I’m always ready and stay ready for whatever. I continue to have that mindset going into every game and just play hard.”


When asked what has changed for him over the past couple of weeks that has allowed him to excel lately:
“I think the only thing that changed was just the confidence part and knowing that I’m not too far from where I was.” 

 LAFAYETTE HEAD COACH FRAN O’HANLON

Opening Statement: “I thought we competed very well for the first 24 or 25 minutes, and we had a chance to get it to four with a couple foul shots, but we didn’t get it done. And then they went on a huge spurt, and we lost our poise a bit. [Duke] is a tricky team.”

On Kyle Jenkins putting the team on his back: “Jenkins is probably our best player, our most athletic, somebody who can play with those athletes on Duke. He shoots the ball extremely well, and he really pulled us through there in that tough stretch, and we needed him to do that for us to compete. At any level, but especially with Duke, we need him to step up and he did that.” 


On what Duke did in the second half to slow Jenkins down: 
“I think it was more that they really pressured the rest of the guys, and we had a tough time getting into offense. They were really pushing up on us. We took a couple of bad shots, and it had a lot to do with the pressure that Duke applied continually throughout the game, so we kind of went away from him a little bit. Not that I wanted to go away from him, but we did.”


On how Lafayette’s offense worked through cuts:  
“We talked about how much they were going to pressure us on the perimeter and slips and backdoors will potentially be there. I think right from the start, Leo Boyle went backdoor right away and missed a layup. Kyle Jenkins missed a layup on the same thing. I guess [the basket] doesn’t seem as wide open as it does for me on the bench. I was happy with how we had a number of backdoors, a number of slips, and Neal Quinn does a good job of passing out of the high post.”


On Cameron Indoor Stadium: 
“It’s interesting because, obviously, the last game we played was in the Palestra and then we play here in Cameron. I think the same guy built both of these facilities. Coming into Cameron, obviously I’m a little biased from growing up and setting the turnover record at the Palestra, but I love this place. The crowd makes this place, it was just absolutely phenomenal. They started piling in early and, you know, when we practiced in the afternoon it wasn’t quite as intimidating. When you get that crowd on you, with how loud they are, they’re just a great crowd. A couple of the places that I’ve been that I think stand out above all of them are obviously the Palestra, Cameron now is one of the tops, and Kansas. We’ve had the misfortune or the fortune to play in the Louisvilles and the Kentuckys, and I think it’s a big part of my job to give [my players] experiences like this. These are lifetime experiences. They’ll see some of these guys playing at the next level for sure.” 

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