Quotes: Duke v. Belmont

The Blue Devils met the media following their victory over the Belmont Bruins

Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski

Opening Statement:
"That was a heck of a game. It's a game that I've worried about since we knew we were playing them. I was worried it all summer and fall. I think they're one of the better teams. I know they're the best team in their league, but I think they're just one of the better teams. I think they can play against anybody. They remind me so much of Butler when we played them a couple of years ago because they have bigs, they have depth and the maturity of their team is unbelievable. Coach Byrd is a tremendous coach. He's one of the best coaches in the country, and it's why they won 30 games. They got all their key guys back. It's a heck of a win for us. We had, I thought, two chances – one was based on really good basketball – to really lengthen the lead. At the end of the half, I thought we played the last minute great and we missed that wide-open three. You go up by 12 and we had the arrow. And we come out the second half and we set up something pretty good. We got it to Mason [Plumlee] and he kicked it out to Andre [Dawkins] and he has a wide-open three. Those are the silent runs. You go up 15. And then we missed an inside layup. We missed eight points there. And that was based on good basketball. When we got the 16-point lead, it was because we got hot. We hit and they didn't. I think they wear you down. I thought they wore Seth [Curry] down with their full-court pressure. And we got a little giddy. We're still not an old team. [Drew] Hanlen was fantastic. We actually played good defense with that 16-point lead and forced them into a shot that we would want, but we didn't rebound it and they kicked it right out to Hanlen and he nailed it. And that was their first three. We had done a great job on the three. And I thought our perimeter got a little tired based on their pressure. That's the way they play. And there was a lot of game pressure on us. We over-penetrated. One of the things they did like the Butler team a couple of years ago did, if you get that ball in the paint with the perimeter or post and put it on the floor, you had a good chance of losing it. So you're not going to penetrate all the way to the basket. You have to kick, and we didn't do a good job of kicking. Our offense gave them offense. Our offense let us down. And then at the end, we had three kids who made big plays. [Tyler] Thornton was tremendous – his two free throws and exuberant play. Andre's shot obviously is just a big-time shot. It was pure. And then Ryan [Kelly] going up there and hitting the two free throws – just huge. You can't practice those things. I thought Mason just had a stellar game for us – a high double-double. I'm really proud of our guys, especially once the game pressure was on us. We grew up a lot tonight. You can't practice situations like that. Good teams put you in those situations, and Belmont's a really good basketball team. But I thought overall we played really well. I thought we played a little bit better than they did, to be quite frank. I thought they played well. I thought we played a little bit better and then our offense let us down with the turnovers."

On what the team could have done better in the final minutes:
"The main thing we lost are missed free throw rebounds. To me, the last four minutes, we lost two of them during that time. That was the key thing. We were going to hold the ball. Seth went too early. He went too early when we had a two-possession lead. You don't need to go early. But that was the only time we went to what we call an ‘open.' You couldn't be conservative – they played too good of defense. We had to keep trying to play offense until that moment, and then we didn't execute that very well."

On the effort of Austin Rivers:
"I thought he played well. This is his first college game. We put him in a lot of positions. The thing that he has to react to, he's not accustomed when he drives to kick. Against a converging defense like that, that was his biggest mistake tonight, is knowing when to kick and when not to. But I thought he played well. I'm pleased with my team. Our fans should understand that we played a really outstanding basketball team tonight, just in case they don't understand that. These guys are very, very good."

On the rotation of Thornton, Rivers and Curry at the point:
"The last couple years, we haven't had a pure point guard and we won 67 games. Seth is fine … We need our bench to really do a good job. We need to just keep growing. I'm okay with Tyler and Quinn and Seth out there."

On Belmont's three-point shooting late in the game:
"They got a few on offensive rebounds. Hanlen hit big shots. The one that cut it to one, we had over-penetrated. You knew as soon as they turned it over that they were going to hit a three … because you shouldn't be doing what we just did. I didn't think it was so much our defense as much as second shots and our bad offense where we turned the ball over 19 times. Again, we forced them into 18. Overall, our defense was pretty good when our offense didn't hurt us. The second shots for three's and the second shots in the last few minutes off of free throws, if we would have lost the game, that would have been the reason for losing this game. With a younger group, you've just got to be mentally tough. On the free throw, it's a stop action. You've just got to be ready for anything if that ball misses, and they were more ready than we were, which shows their maturity. That's what they've got – they've got a mature basketball team."

Duke Junior Andre Dawkins

On his key three-point basket late in the game:
"Seth came off a ball screen, nothing was there, my guy sagged in a little bit, and I was able to fill up. I knew there were only like three seconds on the [shot] clock, so I had to get a shot up. Luckily it fell for me."

On the experience from a close game like tonight:
"I think it means a lot to us. A bunch of young guys really stepped up. [Belmont is] an extremely good team, and they can really play. It's a big win for us, a big confidence boost. Now we have to turn around and move to the next game against Presbyterian tomorrow afternoon."

Duke Junior Mason Plumlee
"I think everybody on the floor made a big play tonight. Tyler [Thornton] hit free throws. Andre [Dawkins] hit the biggest shot of the night. Ryan [Kelly] hit free throws. It was a collection of guys. We kind of did it by committee, and that's how it's going to have to be. That's a good thing."

"It's a game of runs and we knew when we were up 16 that the game wasn't over. For them to come back from down 16 points in the second half, they made a heck of a run. We've just got to execute better down the stretch. I think we had too many turnovers. Free throw block-outs killed us. There are a lot of things to work on."

Duke Junior Seth Curry
"It's good for us to come in and have to close a game out early in the season. We've got young guys that just aren't used to the role of having to close games out like we did tonight. It's good playing against a good team that's going to be a good team all year long. It's a great learning experience."

On Belmont:
"They were kind of what we expected. We'd heard a lot about them, and we knew they could shoot it well. We got a big lead and then kind of relaxed and let them get a few open shots and [we] turned the ball over. We can't do that."

On Andre Dawkins' big shot:
"I was trying to be aggressive coming off the screen and make the defense make a choice between stopping the ball. They kind of sunk off on him, he filled up for me, and I found him. He had to knock it down and that's a big shot."

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