DUKE HEAD COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI
“That’s a heck of a game for us, because they play so well and so hard, and they’re completely different from the first three teams we played, and we knew that coming in. They’re an older team, obviously extremely well-coached, and the program has – even though they’ve changed coaches – the tradition of their program is a tradition of excellence, going to the NCAA Tournament, so the kids who have been there, they already know [how to win], and the kids who transferred there transferred there because they feel they’re going win, and they have won. And they played like it tonight, they played like an older team. For us, when I say unconventional, that doesn’t mean that it’s bad. [They] have four guards and a lot of dribble penetration, and we haven’t seen that. We’ve practiced against it, and overall, we did a good job against it, we held them to 63 points. But I thought they were tougher than we were by far in the first half. We were not ready for that level of intensity from our opponent, and they played with that intensity throughout, and obviously in the second half we matched or exceeded it, and that’s why we won. Tre [Jones] was magnificent, Vernon Carey, not just for a freshman big but for a big guy, he had a hell of a game. He really played well. And Jack White gave us a huge boost toughness-wise, really, really good. And then Joey [Baker] came in in the first half for a little bit, and then in the second half when they went zone, [with] a little set that we run, we know that he’s going to get a shot in the corner, and he hit two of them in a row that made [the lead increase] from 10 to 16. The second half, I thought we played with the intensity and the will to win that you need to. Now, in the first half, I thought we were outplayed and fortunate to be up by two, really. So, we learned a lot tonight, and we learned another way to win. It’s a young team, lot of pieces, they came together. We had 30 offensive rebounds, that’s great, but it means we missed a lot of shots. I think we had 70-something shots – 73 shots for 74 points. I think our offensive efficiency was not at a high level, but thank goodness our will to grab the ball, especially the second half, was there. So, anyway, I’m pleased with us winning this game and the way we won it, turning things around at have time and coming out with the level of intensity [we did]. It’s a long season, there are many games, and this is a good learning experience I think, in the first half for our kids. And [Georgia State is] good, they’re going be a tough out for people, because they have depth, coaching, and maturity, good combination and a good win for us.”
On players stepping up without scoring: “We missed two dunks – I don’t know how that ball didn’t go in twice. But, those things happen, so there were a lot of frustrating things. And when we say that our offense was [poor], let’s give credit to [Georgia State], you know, they’re coming after you, they have great quickness, intensity – when I say rat, that’s a compliment – they rat on balls, they’re confident, they’re strong, you have to be strong on the ball, so one of the reasons we missed was because of them – and that’s probably the main reason.”
On taking away the three in the second half: “We just started playing better. We left the corner [open] five times in the first half, and a big thing is scouting. This was a game not of knowing plays, this was a game of knowing personnel, and so when there are certain guys, [for example] when [Damon Wilson] is in the corner, you can’t let him shoot, because that’s his shot, and we let him shoot a couple times. When you’re not completely into what you’re doing, you make mistakes, and so we made some mistakes on three-point shooters, and in the second half we didn’t.”
When asked why upsets occur in basketball: “Human nature. There’s nobody who is supposed to win, so the question, not knocking your question – but I am a little bit I guess – nobody is supposed to win or supposed to lose, you’re not ordained to win or lose, that’s why it’s called competition, and people who compete and work hard turn out to be winners, and those who don’t turn out to be the team that the winners beat. That’s just the way it is and that’s what makes competition so good. In our sport, our sport is more prone to upset than any, because there are just five people out there, so there’s age, athleticism, maturity, all those things, depth, and a lot of things where people can make up differences, and that’s why there are a lot of so-called upsets in our sport. A lot of people can win, and you have to be ready to play all those people.”
About where his team is at: “I like my team, they’ve worked hard. They didn’t approach the game [today] with the intensity they needed to. I’m not saying they weren’t ready, they weren’t ready at the level they needed to play [Georgia State] at, and they saw it. I’ve told my team this a number of times, ‘In the past couple of games, coaches have come in here and said how hard Duke plays, and those are great compliments, and that is our calling card. If you show up and don’t play hard, that gives a lot of confidence to the other team – ‘Oh, they’re not who we thought they were’ – so if we don’t come out and match or exceed that effort, we’re giving our opponent momentum right from the start. And I thought that was evident right away [tonight], because we weren’t strong with the ball. And, not that [Georgia State] wasn’t confident, their confidence grew.”
On Tre Jones: “[Tre Jones] is getting better. Scoring wise, he works every day. The last two summers, he’s been out for 4 or 5 months, so he can score obviously, he scored 31 points tonight. So, I’m not worried about him shooting, a lot of other people are. He’s really good, he put on a hell of a performance tonight. Some of his stuff in the full court, not only his finishing, [but his ability to finish through hard contact], he’s like a running back for crying out loud. And he’s still playing on the defensive end. He had a great performance tonight, and he’s one of the best players in the country. And he showed it tonight. He really led us, so I’m proud of him.”
DUKE SOPHOMORE GUARD TRE JONES
“Our main focus was getting the win tonight. We knew they’re a tough team, a lot of athletes, playing a different way with the four guards, different guys every time bringing it up, with the one big guy in there. We knew it was going to be a tough game. The coaches warned us coming in. They had only played one game and had eight days off before this game, so they would be really prepared for us and extremely hungry coming in here with a lot of confidence. So it was big for us to get this win.”
“We knew that we had to jump on them first to start the [second half]. We couldn’t give them any more life than they already had. It was just a two-point game, so we wanted to push the lead and have complete control of the game in the second half.”
“I was just trying to do whatever I could to help this team win, whether that was scoring or passing, and tonight it was a little more scoring. There were definitely were a lot of shots I could have back, but it felt good to get back to myself and playing like myself again.”
On the upcoming games next week in New York City: “Expect the same from this team – being extremely hungry still. No matter what happens to start off the week, just extremely hungry, we’re going up there with one goal in mind – to come back with two wins and continue to grow on defense and offense.”
DUKE SENIOR FORWARD JACK WHITE
“They beat us to loose balls, they were going strong to the ball for rebounds, and they came up with those balls. It just seemed like they had a bit more tenacity than us in the first half. Obviously, we reflected on that coming into halftime and knew we had to really turn it around and start with that first four-minute segment of the second half, just kind of letting them know how it was going to be for this next 20 minutes. I feel like we did a good job of that, just with our intensity and our defense especially. I think we only gave up high 20’s [points] in the second half maybe, apart from those buckets at the end. We definitely put an emphasis on that, and I think we did a lot better job of just rebounding in the second half in general. Matt [Hurt] had six offensive rebounds just on his own. Just big plays, and I think guys just stepped up and responded to Coach [Mike Krzyzewski] challenging us at halftime.”
DUKE FRESHMAN CENTER VERNON CAREY JR.
“Our game plan was just to try and keep their guards out of the paint. I feel like we didn’t do as good of a job on them in the first half, but I feel like in the second half we picked it up and the energy led to our fast breaks and stuff like that. I feel like in the second half we did better. I wouldn’t say [we took them lightly], but we just didn’t come out to play in the first half. In the second half, we just brought it with Coach’s [Mike Krzyzewski] intensity when he came in at halftime.”
On what Duke did in order to keep Georgia State off the boards: “Just find a body and box them out. At halftime, Coach [Mike Krzyzewski] told us to just find someone and box out.”
On his strong rebounding performances in tonight’s game and the previous game versus Central Arkansas: “I’ve just changed my mindset and I’m attacking the ball more. Just having the mindset of attacking the ball when it goes up on the defensive end.”
GEORGIA STATE HEAD COACH ROB LANIER
“I really haven’t had a chance to look at the stats. Duke is obviously very good. I was pretty confident that we would come out and compete, and our message to the team was that there was going to come a time during the game, either late in the first half or early in the second half where we were going to have to deal with some real adversity in this building. And adversity came and we didn’t handle it quite as well as I would have hoped, and I thought that was really the story of the game. I thought we carried out our game plan as well as we could have. They have some really good players that made some good plays. (Tre) Jones making the shots that he made in the first half really hurt us a little bit because we weren’t anticipating that, he hadn’t shot it as well, so him making some shots certainly affected us, but we weathered that, didn’t rebound it well enough in the second half, we gave up too many second chance opportunities. We kept playing, we finished the game the right way. I believe our team is going to be good at some point, I don’t know what we are going to have to go through between now and then. Tonight was a good opportunity for us to learn what we’re made of and it gives us something to learn from and build upon. We look forward to what comes next.”
On if Duke’s defense changed in the second half:
“I don’t think so. They did what they do, they were a little bit better. We tried to play downhill the whole game. They are so aggressive, they deny so much, they pressure so much, so we were preparing for that. So, our game plan was to drive the ball and attack and not try to slow the game down, we didn’t think that would be an effective way to beat these guys. And they don’t let you move the ball as much because they really are so aggressive in the passing lanes. And we got into a little bit of a mode where we were either no pass and a shot, one pass and a shot, and if we didn’t make it, they were going the other way with it, and then we were turned it over some. I think we lost character a little bit from what kept us in the game in the first half, so I think we got away from that a little bit. Defensively, I think they play hard. I don’t know if they made any adjustment per se, but they were more effective.”
On what his message was to the team at the half: “I was a little disappointed the way we finished the half because I wanted to go in with the lead. We gave up a drive in our zone. it’s hard to drive the ball in the zone and shoot a layup and we played pretty good on that possession. At the end of the possession, Jones drove through the zone and shot a layup, so that was disappointing. And so, my message to them was I want to still be looking them straight in the eye after the first media timeout because I’ve been on both sides of this and when you’re in their locker room you’re saying first four minutes, and so we were saying the first four minutes of the second half, we want to still be there and we want them to know that they’ve got a game on their hands and I thought we did that for the most part, but I knew they had a run coming and the question is how big of a run is it going to be and how would we respond, and we didn’t respond really well, but we kept fighting.”
On his team’s effort against Vernon Carey Jr.: “I thought we fought. I thought big Joe (Jones III) did a decent job on him. We wanted to make him catch it away from the basket as much as possible not allowing those deep catches because he’s so strong and he’s got such great touch around the basket and even though he wants to turn over that right shoulder most of the time, it doesn’t matter if he catches it that deep. We just wanted him to take six footers and eight footers instead of rim shots and when he got it away from the basket, I thought Joe did a pretty good job of not letting him get to the basket. Great hands, quick jumper for a guy his size, just a phenomenal talent.”
• Mike Krzyzewski is in his 40th season as Duke’s head coach, and his record is now 1,063-285 at Duke, and 1,136-344 overall in this, his 45th season overall.
• This season marks Duke’s fourth appearance in the 2K Empire Classic Benefitting the Wounded Warrior Project, and the Blue Devils are now 10-2 in the event.
• Duke is at Madison Square Garden in New York City for the final two games of the Empire Classic – next Thursday versus Cal and next Friday versus either Texas or Georgetown.
• Tonight’s game was the second meeting all-time between Duke and Georgia State, with the series now 2-0.
• Duke recorded 30 offensive rebounds in the game – its most in a game in the Coach K era and the most since a school-record 37 versus Wake Forest on February 14, 1968. Before tonight, the five previous instances of 30+ offensive-rebound games came in the 1960s.
• The Blue Devils finished +26 in rebound margin (58-32), tied for the ninth-best under Coach K and the largest since +36 versus St. Francis (Pa.) on December 12, 2017.
• Duke registered 10 steals in the game – its fourth game this season in double-digit steals -- and now has 47 steals through four games.
• Georgia State marked the 16th consecutive opponent to shoot less than 50 percent against the Blue Devils (.419).
• The Blue Devils extended their non-conference home winning streak to 150 consecutive games – the nation’s longest active streak.
• Tonight’s game marked the 458th 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.
• Sophomore Tre Jones scored a game and career high 31 points on 10-of-19 shooting, 4-of-8 from three-point range and 7-of-10 at the free throw line.
• Jones became the first player in Duke history to record a game of 30+ points, 6+ assists and 4+ steals. He finished with 31 points, six assists and four steals and played all 40 minutes.
• His previous career high was 22 versus Virginia Tech in last season’s Sweet 16.
• Duke improved to 20-1 in games when Jones scores in double digits.
• Freshman Vernon Carey Jr., posted his second consecutive double-double with career highs for points (20) and rebounds (14).
• Duke faces Cal on Thursday, Nov. 21 at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2 at Madison Square Garden in the 2K Empire Classic Benefiting Wounded Warrior Project.