"The first thing I'd like to say is I thought our crowd was great. For the students who stayed, thank you, and for a lot of the new people who come when the students aren't here. It was packed. It was really good. The atmosphere was great.
"I thought overall, our effort was really good. I think they're good. Homer Drew's team, first of all, it's a veteran team. They know how to play basketball. I think everybody in our league would love to have Oppland. He's just such a good player, and he plays through a play. A play can actually have multiple plays within that play, or an exchange, and he plays every one of them. If there's a loose ball, most people, if they're not involved, would stop. Oppland's saying, ‘Did someone get it?' I really love the way that kid plays. His attention is terrific. You can learn from playing against guys like that. And Howard's a good player too. They're a good team. We beat a really good team tonight. They had just beaten Charlotte in Charlotte, and I thought defensively, especially in the first half, we didn't play as a unit, and they broke us down. Our offense hurt our defense. We had a few turnovers where we just kind of gave them the ball, and of course they scored on them.
"I told our team the whole night, ‘They're never going to go away.' Two times we had 19-point leads in the first half, and I kept telling them, ‘They're not going away. It's a veteran team. They're used to winning. They're really good kids. They're not going away. You're going to have to play the whole time and concentrate.' Obviously I was right. They were there the whole time.
"I thought in the second half our defense was much better, and our offensive execution was much better. Melchionni really stepped up and made some great plays for us. Greg Paulus had 15 assists, and some of his passes were absolutely sensational. I think he played a really good game. We all just have to play better defensively. J.J. Redick had a workman-like 30, and he doesn't get cheap baskets. I'm not complaining about anything. He just works his butt off. I thought Shelden Williams had a really good game because Mohamed Kone was never a factor. He only had two points, and that was primarily because of Shelden. Shelden had a double-double. And Sean Dockery with the two early fouls, that changed the nature of the game and how you have to coach the game. But overall, I thought we came more to score the ball tonight than to defend it, and I'd like to do both."
On scoring 20 points in first eight possessions
"I think it was like fool's gold -- the allure of the three-point shot instead of the defense of the dribble. I'm going to eat that tonight, not meat and potatoes. We fell in love with the three-point shot and run. And the thing is, it's not like they weren't scoring. They were scoring too. It started off right at the tip. We're calling out there, ‘Look, that's what they're going to do.' And they did it after we told them that's what they're going to do. There were a few of those times tonight."
On coming back from eight-day break
"Overall, we played our butts off. We played well, don't get me wrong. We just have to play better defense. It's not a break first of all. At Duke it's not a break. The exams are tough. We finished Friday at 5:00, so whatever practices we had between Texas and Friday were not as much defensive. They were more getting a good workout because they have to pass their test. Friday we had a good defensive practice, but the habits aren't there yet to where you can take that many days off from defense and still expect to play. That's just a fact of life. We'll work on it hard the next two days."
On Lee Melchionni and Jamal Boykin
"I thought in the second half (Lee) really stepped forward. His drive, when he got fouled that time in the second half, that was the best drive of his career because he went from the top of the key to the bucket in one dribble. It was like instead of trying to figure out where I'm going, I'm going there. When we have that lineup, and Lee's the second big, he's going to get opportunities to do that because people are playing for his jump shot. So he did a good job, and Jamal did really well. Each of these kids have to know that every game is a fresh opportunity for them, and he really did a good job."
On whether he had concerns when Valparaiso cut Duke lead to 9
"Yeah. You can lose the game. We gave up 44 points in the first half, and we did not end the last two minutes of the half very well, and especially the last exchange. Greg can't drive on that exchange because with Sean out of the game, if he drives, and he misses, we're not accustomed then to being back. I'm not saying somebody shouldn't, but you have a different lineup in there, and that's what happened. We called a set, and we didn't run it, but I didn't think it was his fault. I thought J.J. and Lee should have taken control of the team because we had three freshmen out there with them. We can't end halves that way."
On Redick missing free throws
"J.J.'s going to miss a few free throws because it's a very physical game. J.J.'s got to defend, which is really hard because DeMarcus isn't in there. He's in a battle every night, and so when he gets to the line, he's in the process of discovering that's a little bit of a break. You can lose the little bit of concentration that it was easier to have when you didn't have that level of responsibility."
On how players are adjusting to different roles
"They're doing well, but what has to happen is Marty has to become a better player so that when he comes in the game, I can put him on that guy. Josh McRoberts needs to keep improving so that I can put him on the guy Shelden has at times. Right now, I think every team we've played has been a good team, which is good for us because it exposes whatever you're not as good at right now. That's when we'll become a better basketball team, when these kids have those habits, and Shelden and J.J. don't have to do everything. I thought Sean had a really good game tonight. Sean played very well for us, and those other kids are coming. I don't want to keep talking about DeMarcus' injury, but that's a big injury for us. You don't just lose a kid like that and say, ‘Everything's ok. They just got another player.' That's not the way it is. DeMarcus is a whole different guy for us. He got hurt at Drexel, and we've played some big, big games since then, and our guys have done a great job. We're not the team that I hope we will be, but we're a really good basketball team that played their butts off and beat a really good team tonight."
On Nelson's progression
"He was checked again about a week ago, and everything is aligned right. He's partial weight-bearing, and he's able to be in a pool now and do some conditioning in that. It's still well over a month, 6 weeks away. But he's been great. One of the neat things about watching a team is sometimes watching a bench. Or if you were at a practice and watch a kid who's in that situation, what does he do? What does he do in the locker room? He's been the best, and I think when he comes back, he's going to help us right away because one, he's never left the team. Emotionally, he has never left this basketball team, and our kids know it. I'm proud of him for that. Of course I'm anxiousl to have him back, but he's doing it the right way."
Senior Lee Melchionni
"Valpo is a very veteran team. They have a lot of international players on their team. They're older and they play smart and they didn't go away tonight, and you have to give them credit for that. They definitely have some good players and they played us tough."
"Tonight we didn't come to play defense. That's something that's disappointing. We have to pick up for the St. John's game [Wednesday]. That's what we hang our hat on and tonight we definitely didn't play defense good enough, giving up 73 points."
On Greg Paulus
"He's a great passer with great vision. He sets us up and him along with Josh (McRoberts), they give us two freshmen who are really developing an upperclassman mentality where they're not really freshmen anymore."
Senior Shelden Williams
"[Balance] can be very important, especially down the stretch when we play against ACC schools and going into the [ACC and NCAA] Tournaments. We have to know guys are going to step up and hit their shots when they're available. We can't rely on just two guys scoring all the time. Fortunately, every game we have different guys step up and hopefully we can get more consistent guys to step up more and more every night."
"We have good chemistry on the team, and we have players that know their role. And that's something that we're experiencing at an early stage, and hopefully we can keep building on that, allowing guys to accept their roles and keep building their roles."
Freshman Greg Paulus
On setting the freshman single-game assist record (15)
"To be honest, it's not my number one goal. My job is just to run the offense and make sure the team is on the same page for the offensive execution. That's what we did tonight, and the guys made a lot of tough shots, and they were in scoring opportunities that made it easy for me...when the guys are shooting the way they did tonight and playing together, they deserve a lot of the credit."
"We played unselfishly. We played together offensively, but defensively, we need to improve on that. We gave up too many points in the first half. It was a little bit better in the second half, but we just gave up too many points tonight. We just needed to pick up the intensity. We gave up too many points - 40-something - and sometimes we don't give that up until sometime late in the second half."