“Well, we’re extremely disappointed to say the least, but I am not disappointed in the effort of our team. The intensity tonight was better than we’ve had all year long, but Duke gets that from everybody. You have to congratulate them. They made 13 of 14 free throws in the second half. We needed them to miss a couple of those to say the least. We needed to make a couple of ours. That is just picking one thing out. I think the biggest plays in the second half were when [Tyler] Thornton hit a couple of big threes. We weren’t supposed be helping; we’re trying to guard the ball and not sag back into help. He got two open threes and one of them came off of an offensive rebound. We were still right there, get them to miss a shot. I thought it was going to be a shot clock violation, but then they called a foul. It probably was a foul. I’m not complaining about that.
“I think it was a four-point game at that time. It put them on the free throw line, instead of it being our ball down four, it was our ball down six and we couldn’t get over the hump. I was really pleased with our effort tonight. As I said in the first comment, it was by far the best we have had this year. We didn’t shoot the ball very well. I really think we are a good shooting team. P.J. [Hairston] has been shooting the ball really well from the 3-point line and he was 1-for-7. Leslie [McDonald] was 0-for-3. Both of them are good shooters. You have to congratulate Duke’s perimeter defense, because they made the shots covered. They made it more difficult.
“I am not into moral victories, I told them that in the locker room, but I am pleased with the effort they gave and how focused they tried to be. Just congratulate Duke. There is a reason why they are No. 1 in the country, because they are really good. They got off to a great start this year playing the most difficult schedule in the country and they played great. Then when Ryan [Kelly] went down, for two or three games they were all out of whack, but they have been playing great lately. We will get a chance to play them again. Hopefully we play a little better and hopefully they’ll play a little worse.”
On his decision to change starting lineup:
“I started to do it four or five games ago, but everybody’s saying, ‘well, you’re going to put P.J. in for someone else.’ But nobody knows my team. It’s popular to say who the hell is supposed to be in the lineup when you don’t know what in the dickens you’re talking about. For us, he’s such a good scorer and Duke’s 4-man – Amile Jefferson and Josh Hairston – is not a focal point of their offense because they’re a 3point shooting team or throwing the ball to Mason inside.
“So we hoped that P.J. would be able to battle and guard inside. He did fine with that. They got a couple of offensive rebounds just on reach and then Mason when he came across the lane two times with that big jump hook; we don’t have the size to put up with anything like that. But as I said, we started to make that change four or five games ago and didn’t do it. But who knows? I may start five different guys on Saturday.”
On his decision to tighten the rotation:
“I was trying to win the dadgum game. I don’t make decisions about how many minutes a guy’s going to play. I’m going to play the guys that I want at that specific time. We may play five guys 40 minutes on Saturday. I may be back playing 12 guys in the first half. We didn’t have Joel. Desmond came in and played for us a couple of minutes in the first half; he’s good on the defensive end of the floor. But we’ve been struggling scoring the ball… One of the ways we’ve been struggling is scoring and so putting P.J. in there gives us another scorer in the lineup. And why should I just make change for change sake out there? We were playing pretty well.”
On what the team can take away for the rest of season:
“I hope they realize how much they invested and that it was also a battle. It is still a loss, as I said I am not into moral victories. It was there for the taking. They invested more and got more out of it.”
On matchup problems when Duke went to four guards in second half:
“In my opinion it was not a matchup problem. Their guys made big plays. If you go back and look at it we helped on the drive attack. Thornton made two threes from the right side. It might have been three. One of those was a bad box out. We got them to miss the first shot and I am going to guess it was [Rasheed] Sulaimon ran all the way across the court and got the rebound right in front of their bench. It wasn’t really a matchup problem, because we were small also. P.J. was probably the guy that would guard Tyler at that time. We had one big guy and they had one big guy, Josh Hairston, at that time. Like I said, you have to congratulate them. They made some big shots.”