Quotes: Duke-72, Penn-59

The Blue Devils met the media after beating the Quakers in Cameron

Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski

Opening Comments
"We played well defensively tonight, forcing 26 turnovers. Obviously it was just the opposite on the offensive end, but I'm proud of our guys that they were able to cape up defensively because it's one of those games where we did some things that you can't even explain on the offensive end.

"In my experience, in the number of years that I have been here, in games this week, there's not as great attention. For a lot of our kids, this week is harder than next week academically. This is the week before exams. They have projects due. Some of them have their final exams this week. Since we've gotten back from Indiana, I've noticed that they're trying like crazy, they're playing hard, they're trying to do what we want to do, but they're not there yet.

"But I'm proud of them. They find ways to win, and we'll be better than that. We were really good defensively or else we wouldn't win. But they're human beings, and the other team is good. They start hitting those threes. We had played such good defense, and they hit threes, and then we made some great defensive plays to score off of our defense. We just have to get on to the next thing, knowing that we're getting on to the next thing after beating a very good Penn team."

On team needing to play at higher level
"We're playing hard, so when you say level, I don't want to answer it that way because then it means that our kids aren't playing that hard. We're playing really hard. We're trying to do it, we're just not playing as well offensively. We know we have to play better offensively, but we're playing hard. They have great attitudes, and they're trying. I'm proud of them. They've been winners. I think we're capable of playing better offensively. I would think you would have to give Penn some credit. I'm not standing here saying it's just us. They got back on defense. They hustled. They put good pressure on the ball and did a great job of doubling.

"The thing that we really did not do so well on tonight was on the break. We just could not connect unless we had a breakaway, and even then you were wondering if the ball was going to go in. We just didn't have a comfort level, and we'll try to figure that out."

On problems on offense
"I thought we had decent movement. Early in the game, we had three points, and we probably should have had about 15, and so effort was not rewarded with points. That can kind of get to you. If you're a hitter, and you hit the heck out of the ball and hit a line drive to the shortstop. You hit it in the left center-field gap, and somebody makes a catch. You think, ‘I'm hitting the ball pretty well, but I'm 0-2. That's how I thought the game started. We were hitting the ball pretty well, but we should have had a Texas leaguer or something. I know our guys wanted to play better than they did against Virginia Tech. That, and Penn is playing hard. So it's all those factors going in. I think the best thing for us is not to put too much emphasis on everything that happened tonight but to move on to the next thing. At least that will be my approach."

On rebounding margin
"One, Penn played pretty hard. They have kids that want to rebound. If you're pressuring passing lanes, it gets out on the court more. We can rebound better, there's no question about that. But when you're out in the passing lanes, your defense is out, so there's a little bit of trade-off if you're turning it over but sometimes not getting a defensive board. The goal is to do both. I'm not disappointed in our players. We beat a good team tonight. But would I like to play better? Absolutely. And we will. I'm not down on my guys."

On some games being closer than expected
"We're not going to shut anybody out. Tonight it looked like we might get shut out. But we've got a lot of young guys with a lot of old guys. We just need to develop along with our pace and not let anybody else set that pace for us. We've learned a lot by playing this schedule. Being in the NIT, playing Memphis, going to Indiana. Virginia Tech is a tough game. Penn probably will win the Ivy League. Davidson is a really good team. We try to play all good teams that are well coached and have a chance to win their leagues. As a result, our weaknesses will be exposed, and the experience that we need to beat other good teams will be developped, and that's what we try to do. This was a really good game for us. Those programs have a culture of winning. When Penn's players come out on the court, they usually win. That's a big thing. It's almost tougher than playing a lower level in a bigger conference. I want our guys to compete against a culture of winning in our non-conference schedule. We've done that. We're going to see the extreme of all of that on Saturday with Texas because they have the coaching. They'll probably win their league, or they have a chance for a national championship. They have good players. They have a winning culture there."

On importance of having more than two scorers
"It's real important because people play J.J. (Redick) or Shelden (Williams) with one-and-a-half or two men all the time. I think we will have that. DeMarcus (Nelson) should be that. We thought he would be our third scorer or sometimes the leading scorer. Some of these other kids aren't ready to assert themselves like I think they will. That's something we have to work on. If we don't, we won't be as good of a team."

On Greg Paulus adjusting to culture of winning as freshman point guard
"Greg comes from a culture of winning. Whether it be basketball or football, his team has won. Moreso, it's the day-to-day that you have to be your best, a thing that he has to adjust to at this level. Sometimes you're going to get knocked back, and he's been knocked back a little bit these last two games. But he's a tough kid, and he's good. Jason Williams, Bobby Hurley, all those kids got knocked back at times. Someone else stepped in, and then all of a sudden something hit. It's the process, and he's going through that right now. I think the responsibility of running our team will help him get through that process quicker than if he just was off the ball or coming off the bench. You have to play through your mistakes and play through the times you don't play well, and then all of a sudden it clicks. It'll click for him. Hopefully on Saturday, but if it isn't, we're not going to throw him out or anything. They have to have time to develop, and in our program sometimes people don't allow that to happen for kids because they just expect them to win."

Senior Shelden Williams

"We've got to look at it like we played a game where we played really well on defense but not too well on the offensive end. It's something we're going to have to change, especially playing a big-time game coming up this weekend [against Texas]. We have to have both parts of our game. We can't just rely on one or the other. That's something that we need to work on, and we're going to do that starting tomorrow in practice."

"Give credit to [Pennsylvania]. They played good defense, and whenever I touched the ball, they were clamping down on me. They had a really good defensive plan, just trying to take me out of the game. Fortunately, J.J. (Redick) starting driving toward the end of the game and they were collapsing down on him and leaving me open, and I got a few free touches there."

"We were getting in positions where we weren't getting a lot of rebounds. A lot of their shots were threes, and when you shoot threes more often than twos, a lot of the rebounds are going to be long rebounds. We didn't go a good job of chasing down those long rebounds. That's something we need to work on. We can't just have certain guys rebound - we have to have the whole team rebounding."

Senior Lee Melchionni

"The bottom line is we're 8-0 and nobody's beaten us, and we're still undefeated and 1-0 in the ACC. But obviously you want to play better, and we can play better and we know that, so we'll come back to practice looking to improve."

"I think you have to be happy with the way we're playing defense. We're getting after it and playing good defense. They hit some big shots, some threes late - give them credit - but I think our defense is the anchor of our team."

‘Shelden (Williams) draws a lot of attention, and they were converging on him. At times, they were playing five perimeter guys and just doubling the post, and that makes it difficult for Shelden, first for us to get the ball into him and then for him to have some space to move."

Senior Sean Dockery

"It's good that we're struggling. You get to learn. It's early in the season and we're still a young team, and we're still learning from each other. I don't feel like we're playing bad - I feel like we're learning. And we keep winning. We don't have an ‘L' yet, so we're in good shape. We just have to learn from our mistakes and keep going."

"I feel like everybody believes in each other on this team, and we just have to get going. We've got some freshmen, and it's kind of tough coming and playing at Duke. Plus we're ranked number one right now, so it's kind of tough. When those guys get more comfortable, we're going to get better."

"They're a great team. I know they scouted us well. I know their coach told them about Shelden (Williams) and put them in a position for us not to get the ball into him. So you have to give them their props - they played great defense."


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