Listen to Audio (6:14)
"There's no question, the first thing that you have to do is to congratulate Duke. Congratulate Austin on a big-time game and a big-time shot that he made at the end. We had some opportunities. In the last three or four minutes, we had two turnovers and two or three missed free throws and they scored twice on second shots when we didn't secure the rebound. This one hurts. The kids really played and competed and did some very good things. Duke is awfully good. And I think we are awfully good. Tonight, I think at the same point, it was two great basketball programs, two big-time teams, and they made more plays the last three minutes than we did.
"We have been on the positive end of some games like this, and I don't remember many where we have been on the negative end. I love my team, I love the way they fought, and I loved the way we made plays. Harrison's ankle was really bothering him in the first half and he got in rhythm in the second half and he forgot about that. I thought ‘Z' and John were really big. We just made some mistakes at the end. And that's the bottom line. We turned it over – Kendall's little pass 40 feet out from the basket, Harrison got called for a charge – and we missed some free throws. We had been closing games pretty doggone well, but we didn't tonight. You just have to congratulate Duke, and Mike, and his staff."
On that next to last play, did Tyler tip in the ball?
Have you ever seen anything like that before?
"No, but it's North Carolina and Duke. I've never seen anything like that."
Did you get the sense that your guys let their guard down in the final minutes?
"No, I don't think so. Again, guys, it's not just about us. North Carolina is not the only team that decided the outcome of the game. We tried to play, we tried to make plays, but we didn't make them as successfully as we wanted to make. But it's not just about North Carolina."
How much good can you take from a game like this?
"The only good you can take from it is to become more determined. You ought to be ticked off. You ought to be flat-out ticked off and that's the best language I can use. That you're going to become more determined. If you start wallowing in the sorrow for yourself and feeling frickin' sorry for yourself, you ought to just go home. My team better by God come back and decide they're going to be better. We lost a game that we could have won. If we don't learn something and come back and be more determined, then I've got the wrong group. And I don't think I have the wrong group."
Listen to Audio (9:00)
Can you explain what happened in those final three minutes that turned the tide?
"They hit the two big threes to bring it to four and then they got a little lucky on the one that I tipped in. Then those two free throws I missed just left the door open and Austin Rivers made a great shot."
Did they change their approach on you in the second half?
"I think they changed a little. They tried to keep the ball out of my hands as much as possible. I've got to be more aggressive. I've got to try to get the ball more with the way I was playing."
When you're matched up with a smaller guy like Rivers, what do you try to do?
"I should have got up further – I didn't want to foul him and put him on the free throw line. But at the same time, I still should have got up. You can't give him a three when you're up two."
Listen to Audio (3:51)
On the final three minutes of the game:
"I mean, they made the right plays and we didn't. I mean, it's just that simple. You've got to give credit where credit is due, and they played a great game. We made some poor decisions. I had a turnover. I made a terrible play with the charge. Then it came down to last-second defense and couldn't get that stop."
On Austin Rivers's final shot:
"I knew he was going to shoot a three. I thought everyone in the gym did. 'Z' did a good job contesting, but he made the shot."
Listen to Audio (1:08)
On the mood of the team:
"It hurt us. It hurts a lot. We had control of the game the whole time, and they came back - it's a crazy game. They played great."
On what the team can take away from this game:
"We know how we can play, we just have to finish it - finish games off."
Listen to Audio (2:42)
On the final minutes of the game:
"Down the stretch, they made winning plays. We had a couple turnovers. We missed the backend of two shots. If we hit our free throws, we can finish off the game. But like I said, you have to give them full credit. They made winning plays. We had a tough call with the three that [Zeller] tipped in, and Austin [Rivers] made a great shot."
Do you feel like this team's occasional lack of focus caught up with it tonight?
"No, not at all. I don't think we've ever lost our concentration in the last three minutes of a game. I feel like for the most part in games this year, we've finished in the last three minutes. Our losses haven't been decided in the last three minutes. Maybe if you want to count Kentucky, but I think we played great basketball today. We made some costly mistakes and missed some free throws in the final three minutes and Austin hit a great shot."
DUKE COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI
Listen to Audio (8:57)
"We're obviously ecstatic about the win. I think they're the best team in the league. We fought like crazy just to stay close. Then in the last couple of minutes, we got hot. Not just one guy, but Tyler [Thornton] hit a big three to cut it to seven and I thought Seth [Curry's] shot was huge. He was way out. It's one of those shots. It was so far out that you don't… It's worth more than three. Then [Ryan] Kelly kept his poise and ended up getting a couple of buckets for us. We had set up, when Tyler fouled out, if they hit the two free throws a potential three, a different type of play. And then we said if he didn't hit one of them, then we'd get it in Austin's hands and he could drive. The drive wasn't there and he hit a great shot. But we put the ball in his hands and he had a magnificent game."
More on the game:
"They're really good and they can knock you out. And we didn't get knocked out. And as a result, we hung in there and we won the last round. I'm not sure we won the whole fight, but the last round, we did, and we won the game. But we fought the entire time. We fought a really good fight."