Quotes: Duke v. Clemson

Coach K and his players met the media following their victory over Clemson on Saturday afternoon

Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski

On his overall impression of the game:
"I'm really proud of our team. We beat an outstanding basketball team tonight. I was real impressed with Clemson. They're men, and they're coached by a man. Physically and emotionally, they're men. They just owned the boards. At halftime, I drew a circle under the basket and told our guys ‘We're dominating the other part of the court and they're dominating that part. But they're dominating that so much, that if we continue this way, it won't make any difference what we do on the other part of the court.' It took us until about the middle of the second half to really start rebounding. In the last 10 minutes, I thought we either held our own or out-rebounded them. Our defense saved us. We got 37 points off of turnovers and our kids made really good finishes. We're really proud of the win. The crowd was great and it's a big-time win for us."

On the play of his individual players:
"I thought G(erald Henderson) was really strong breaking their press, and Nolan (Smith) came through for us the whole game, but especially in the first half. Kyle (Singler's) two threes were huge plays. I was surprised that G(erald) had only two assists, but if it was hockey, he would have had five or six. He split the defense and then made a play that led to a play. Our captain had a great game too. DeMarcus (Nelson) scoring 24 points on 13 shots was tremendous, and he played really good defense. He's been an outstanding leader for us and he keeps getting better. He's been the rock for our team."

On the unselfishness of his players:
"The kids like each other and they share the ball. We're just a little bit different team than most teams. It's tough for us to score just inside, and we're better when we're pushing it. We tell them to just keep pushing it and we'll get them in foul trouble because we're driving and they have to recover."

On how switching to a zone defense at times helped in the win:
"The one or two times we used our zones, it helped us just a little bit when (Terrence) Oglesby was out. It got us a possession or two and in a game like this, you're thankful if you get a possession or two."

On Kyle Singler's block on James Mays under the basket:
"I thought maybe that was a little bit of a turning point in the game. It meant more than just one stop. It kind of was a show of strength and we scored afterwards to take a four-point lead."

On the play of Duke and Clemson's freshman point guards:
"I thought (Demontez) Stitt did better than I thought he would in his first ACC road game. Our kid was really good too. Nolan had a terrific game for us. To have him and Kyle play at the level as freshman...I'm really proud of them."


Senior DeMarcus Nelson

"It was a hard-fought game and both teams really came out here to play. You have to tip your hats to Clemson. They're a great team. They're relentless on the offensive boards and we really had a tough time trying to stop them and keep them off the boards. But we played a great team game tonight. A lot of guys contributed throughout the whole game and we forced a lot of turnovers and we were able to convert on those turnovers."

"Our game plan was to try to force them into a lot of turnovers and try to press them and trap them in different areas and try to trap them in the post a little bit. But they made adjustments and they were relentless the whole night. They never went away. It took us the whole game to really kind of wear them down."

"[Jon Scheyer and Nolan Smith] coming off the bench did extremely well, particularly Nolan, being a freshman and playing in this type of environment. This was probably the biggest game we've played all year and Nolan really played extremely well in this environment. And Jon – Jon is Jon. He's a really good player and he's just like a starter for us. He's just steady. He's going to go out there and give it all he's got. And if we continue to get those contributions from our bench, I think we'll be really tough to beat."


Sophomore Gerald Henderson

"DeMarcus [Nelson] was great. He's been a great leader all year and he played a heck of a game tonight. He had 24 points but defensively he was great. Even from the beginning of the game, he was looking to score and be aggressive and that's the way he needs to be. When we really needed a bucket he came through with it. It's not surprising to me. He's been our rock all year."


Freshman Nolan Smith

"With our athleticism and our ball pressure and just getting out in the lanes, we feel that we can pressure every team that we play. We just keep rotating at the perimeter position and stay fresh on defense."

"We rebounded when we had to. They were dominating us on the boards the whole game pretty much, but we buckled down and got three or four rebounds that led to eight quick points. We get the ones that we need."

"[The key was] being fresh. With Greg and me going in and out for each other or even playing together, he and I are both in the situation where when we're in the game we won't be tired or make tired mistakes and tired turnovers. Being fresh is the key to that."

"For us being in shape is key. Through summer and spring and pre-season, we feel like we're in great shape. We continue to run after practice as a team and stay in tip-top shape so that we can put that pressure on teams. If they're not in as good shape as us then that can happen with us forcing them into many turnovers."

"DeMarcus can have zero points but he's going to do so many other things – rebounds, assists, and just talking to guys like me. If I get a turnover or he sees something, he comes right to me as a leader and he settles me down. He's going to get me running the team the way it needs to be run, and he does that with every other player. He does more than just score."


Freshman Kyle Singler

"It was a very exciting game. It was one of those games that you dream about. It was a big time win for us, and I was very proud to be a part of it."

"It was a great atmosphere tonight. The fans were in it, and you could feel the energy. It was definitely an up and down game, 93-80. There wasn't much defense played, but there were two great teams going at it and I was glad to be a part of the winning team."


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