Leonard's Corner

For the second consecutive season, FSU tripped up nationally ranked Duke at the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center. And, like last season, Seminole students stormed the court in celebration. Naturally, FSU coach Leonard Hamilton was pleased with the victory. However, he was quick to stress the 'Noles need to build on the win. "...at the end of tomorrow, when the dust settles, we've won 11 games. And, in order for us to have a successful year, we need to continue to keep winning," he said.

FSU coach Leonard Hamilton

Opening Comments

"I thought for the most part our youngsters kept with our game plan of making the extra pass and trying to be as strong as we possibly could with the ball. Duke is an outstanding defensive team, and they take so many things away from you that we had to kind of deviate from some of the things that we have been accustomed to doing to make the necessary adjustments just to handle their pressure. There were times I thought their defensive pressure took us out of a lot of things and then in the end we had to make plays. Obviously, not having Randolph (Shavlik/held to six minutes due to illness) affected their rotation but (Lee) Melchionni came in and gave them a big lift.

"I thought the main thing though is our guys stayed focused and stayed positive and played with a lot of confidence. That's something that has been missing from my team. As much as we are happy in being successful tonight, we can't help but have a little concern to why it takes the fifth-ranked team in the country to come in and bring those types of emotions and consistency and focus out of my youngsters. We want to enjoy this and then we still need to try develop a little more consistency because at the end of tomorrow, when the dust settles, we've won 11 games. And, in order for us to have a successful year, we need to continue to keep winning. Our goal is to improve as a team. Have these kind of victories but not allow ourselves to ... in order for this victory to mean something, we need to continue to keep having success."

This marks your first game against Duke. What were you feeling towards the game's end?

"I've been a very blessed person. I've had opportunities and have been many, many games like this over my career. I've been given the responsibility of developing a program that can be successful year in and year out. As the game winds down, I try to keep those things in perspective. This is a very good Duke team and we are very fortunate that they had an off night shooting (34 percent). I would like to take total credit for holding them to 34 percent, but I realize they had some good looks that just didn't fall. But, more than anything else, I realize where we are. We've won 11 games. We are 2-6 in the league. In order for us to move past this, we have to find a way to continue to keep getting better. That's what running through my mind. Hopefully, this is the beginning and we have higher goals than getting all excited because we've won 11 games."

Talk about your team's performance.

"I thought making the extra pass.Being strong, taking the ball to the basket. I thought a couple of their guys got into foul trouble. Normally, Casey (Sanders) is around the basket, swatting shots away. I think he got into some early foul trouble and maybe he wasn't quite as aggressive as he normally would have been. I thought we rebounded very well and were strong inside. We drew a couple of fouls and maybe kept them from being as aggressive in the lane as they've been this year."

Talk about not letting them ever get the lead following the game's opening few minutes. You had them in the chase role in the second half.

"That's very important but I think when you look at. ... when I think back at those periods, our youngsters were very focused, they were attentive, they listened. They went back out on the court and executed things that earlier in the year we weren't executing very well. We made very few mental errors down the stretch. Each time we ask them to make an adjustment, they did. For whatever reason, there was never really a feeling of panic or a lack of confidence. I thought that really made a difference in us being able to keep them at bay."

What were your feelings in those closing minutes, especially since your team showed plenty of poise?

"Hopefully, we can use this as an example to show the kids how we are supposed to play all the time. We've been in this position before, and there have been periods before in every game where we have not played with the same kind of confidence. I think tonight the communication the guys had on the court gave them a certain level of confidence where they all knew exactly what they were supposed to be doing."

What was your reaction to the students storming the court and enjoying this game?

"I am not a Scrooge or someone who does not enjoy these types of atmosphere. It's just that, I am happy for our team, for our school, for our community and the students and the people who have been supporting us. I never allow myself to get too excited when things are going well just like we have not allowed ourselves to get down when we had that run of losing four or five games in a row. You have to keep focused on what's ahead and we realize that we've won 11 games. And we want very much to have a good season and 11 victories won't get it."

Talk about the performance of Todd Galloway.

"Todd is just a guy who never ceases to amaze me. He has an air of confidence about him. He's humble. He's eager to learn and he has that focus ... he has a quiet confidence, so to speak. In the first half, that's one of the reasons I wanted to go with him because I could feel this was his kind of game. We needed his speed and quickness to adjust to their speed and quickness defensively. He was the one guy who we had on the court I thought when they were pressing us and overplaying us, he had the potential to get to the basket and create some things for his teammates. He did a nice job."

Do you thing this is a coming of age for the team?

"You never know. We've played well before. We've had good games earlier in the season. Now we just have to find a way to be consistent. This team has shown the ability to play good defense and move the ball. But we talked about this all week long. Trying to teach the way we think the game needs to be played. And it's not always easy when a team is learning a system, a coach, a style and when you play against great teams every night. Most teams in the ACC will have one or two or three NBA prospects on the team, definitely guys who can play in Europe and a few other places, so you are playing against the best competition each and every night. You have very little room for error and in order to be successful, you have to be able to have this kind of focus for 40 minutes. We haven't always had that and hopefully this will be something we can use to make them understand that in order to be successful night in and night out, you have to come with this type of passion."

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski

Opening comments

"I thought their intensity, the way they played, especially in the first half, was. ... it just knocked us back. Our defense could not stop their offense in the first half. They shot almost 70 percent (19-28, 67.9 percent). We played harder and much better defensively in the second half and put ourselves in a position, we had a chance to win the ballgame. But I think the effort they had throughout, they weren't going to be denied. That's to their credit. They should be applauded for that. They played their hearts out. I thought we played really hard in the second half to have a chance to win. We got some great contributions from Lee (Melchionni) and Sean (Dockery). They have not played the minutes. They put us in a position, a good position. We just could never get that lead on them. And Nick (Horvath) played really well. It's not like we didn't play hard in the second half. We just didn't play well enough to win. They played well for 40 minutes."

Can you talk about why it has been so hard to win here..

"First of all they are good. Last year's team was good. They are older. It's not an excuse but we have a young group. We have three freshmen out there. But their freshmen played great tonight. Galloway was terrific. (A cell phone on the table began to ring). I don't have one of those things (laughter). It's not mine. I have control over my. ... when I am supposed to do this, I am doing this. I am not ordering pizza or whatever (laughter)."

Did you take more threes than maybe you wanted to? (Duke was 12 of 37 from beyond the arc).

"Well, what they do, they do a great job defensively of taking away the lane. When we did try to penetrate more in the second half, we couldn't get them into foul trouble. We were trying to penetrate and have balance. I thought in the first half we didn't have that balance. But we also missed shots that we've hit a lot of times. It's not like those were wild and crazy shots. A lot of them were right on. J.J. (Redick) had. ... you don't blame a kid for missing shots. He has to take those shots. I think it was 56-56 and we came down and he had a wide open three and just missed it. I am happy with that shot. That's why we've won a lot of games, too. But you are always looking for balance. We could have a little bit more balance."

Another cell phone rings:

"Sausage please (laughter)."

"We could never get the lead (in second half). That puts a little game pressure. ... they came up with som big plays, defensively and offensively. And they hit their free throws. When you look at close games, people who hit them. ... we missed some of ours. Again, there's a lot of things. We had numerous opportunities to win, no question about that. When we did, we didn't come through and they did. And it was exciting game. We are just disappointed we couldn't put that together."


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