“Well they were very impressive the entire second half. The first half it was up and down. They would make a run, we’d make a run. Second half when it got to 70-70 I thought it would continue like that. We make one of two from the free throw line and then (Luke) Kennard comes down and makes two to go up one. Then we go down and miss the first shot of a one-and-one and then they go down and score. I think Jayson (Tatum) hit it that time from the corner. Jayson was magnificent for them in the second half; he had zero points at halftime and had 19 in the second half. They’re a tough matchup, they make seven out of 12 threes in the second half. We didn’t make the plays that we needed to in the last three or four minutes. You’ve got to give them credit. We took care of the basketball, we didn’t turn it over, but we still didn’t get the offense that we wanted. All of the sudden we’re running our offense 35 feet from the basket, so credit their defense for that. I guess Mike (Krzyzewski) can break out in a rash again…. Doesn’t have to worry about it because they out rebounded us 31-30. That’s something that we think should be an advantage for us and it was not tonight.”
How much of a factor was it not having Isaiah Hicks out there?
“He didn’t play. North Carolina still played Duke and if you say all of that stuff then it’s an excuse. We’d like to have had him, but North Carolina still played.”
What was the difficulty in Kennedy Meeks getting anything going?
“They’re good defensively. I don’t think he moved very well at times. They’re good defensively. A lot of guys that are similar size wise, they switch a lot of things. We didn’t get very good movement inside…. I was disappointed in that.”
How do you characterize the free throw woes?
“We shoot them great in practice, I hope it’s just one of those nights. I didn’t like it…. 8-15 in the second half, that usually gets you beat in a close game. One of those was a one-and-one, so the way I look at it it really was 8-16. You can pick out anything… we didn’t make free throws, we didn’t run our offense effectively for about three straight possessions… we’re out there with the late clock from 30 feet trying to do something.”
What did you do really well in this game?
“In the first half I liked the fact that I thought we were focused and bad plays didn’t affect us. We took three or four really bad shots and we jumped and said something to them at the time out and they stopped. They kept competing and we were getting the ball and moving it. We were getting better shots every time we moved it. When we took quick shots, we didn’t get very good shots. I didn’t like our rebounding. I didn’t like the lack of scoring from inside. I guess it’s North Carolina-Duke… your kids are going to be very competitive. I wasn’t disappointed in how competitive we were. I would have liked to have gotten that long rebound when he missed the shot and it’s a three point game… I think that should have been our ball. That’s probably the biggest disappointment right there.”
Did they do anything particularly defensively to take you out of your game plan in the final three or four minutes?
“We didn’t move, but their defense was part of that. I think it’s a two way street; they were good defensively and we took a couple of shots that I thought were too quick and never got the basketball inside. Yet, when we drove, Joel (Berry) drove at least twice… one time he lost the ball and the other time there were two or three guys challenging his shot. I’d like for our guys to take unchallenged shots.”
Joel went 5-13 from the field. Was that more something with his shot tonight or is it more of what they were doing defensively?
“A little of both. I think he went in there one time when he lost the ball… I don’t think they counted it as a turnover or a missed shot. I don’t think he had a great game, but give their defense credit. He missed some free throws that really ticked him off. Then losing the ball driving in and missing the layup. He made a couple of threes that kept us in the game.”
How do you think Luke Maye played in his first career start?
“Twenty minutes, eight points, 4-8. I’d like him to get more than two rebounds. We need more than two rebounds out of the four spot. It was relatively a low possession game even though both teams shot 52-53 percent, there weren’t that many misses. We need to rebound the basketball better. If that’s a strength for us, and I think it is, then we’ve got to do a better job than we did tonight.”