This is very similar to the [press] conference I made over at our place--'If you like college basketball, you have to enjoy that.' My problem is that I pull extremely hard for our team.
Luol Deng, last game was 1-14. Today, I think he was extremely motivated to play exceptionally well. I thought he showed that he is one of the premiere, not just freshmen, but players in the country. I also think that Chris Duhon, on Senior Day, to play as well as he played it was fitting for him. But I'm not concerned with things ending the way Duke University wants them to finish.
It hurt us--it didn't seem that during that stretch we could get a good shot. Then, all of a sudden, the ball bounced a little weird a couple times. Remember, in the second half we blocked a shot, it bounced out to J.J. [Redick], and he knocked in a three. Another time we knocked the ball loose and Deng was running on the baseline. He comes up with the ball and lays it up. But I do think that any basketball player who plays with a great deal of intensity make those kinds of things happen. I was unfortunate for us that it didn't happen our way tonight.
We were very concerned how we would be without Raymond and how he would be after his bad hip pointer. We weathered the storm right before the half. If you look at his line, it was a little more difficult for him--three assists, six turnovers is not a typical game for him.
It would have been nice if Rashad would have been able to handle the basketball and pass it back out to somebody for a three since there were two guys on him. He lost the ball, and then J.J. made a frantic dive on the floor and came up with the ball. You'd like to be in a situation that you have a chance to win every game at the end, and we've had that for the most part this year. We played to the very end, but you just have to congratulate Duke. I knew it was going to be hard after they lost the game the other night--that they would be extremely focused. I'm very proud of how my team competed
You all had many more offensive boards. Do you think you could have taken better advantage of that?
Well, you look and we have 20 and they have nine--second-chance points are 15 to 13. Yes, we could have. I would like to have. Again, three of their second-chance points are after we blocked a shot. We just blocked it out to the wrong guy.
There are so many things that you can pick at. I thought, in the first half, we did a great job on the backboards, but we did a terrible job of stopping their dribble-penetration in the middle of the floor. J.J. and Chris, much more so than Daniel, were able to take the ball and drive it. For us to be effective, we can't have break-downs. We don't go very deep, so if we have little problems they are awfully big just because of our numbers.
Duke did a good job of shutting down Rashad for a while. What could your players have done to help get Rashad going?
In the first half he missed some really open shots. One time he faked up, the guy went flying, he stepped inside and just missed the shot. Another time, he had the top of the key and he just missed the shot. In the second half, right in the top of the key, I think when it was a three-point game, he missed a key from the top of the key, and it was an open shot. That youngster has made a lot of big shots for us.
Duke, one thing about them, they have the intensity that they will keep people flying at you. If you beat one guy, they will have somebody else flying at you. I like their defensive intensity and their relentlessness that they have. We probably could have set better screens; they did a nice job of switching the screens. A couple of times Deng was on him, Shelden was on him. Those guys did a good job of keeping him in front of him. We could do a lot of things better. We needed much better spacing in the second half too.
Melvin is a pretty dog-gone good shooter, but I think he made one basket the whole night so we had some things we could have done, but they did a better job down the stretch.
What is the latest on Raymond's injury?
It's a hip-pointer. I've had them 100 years ago. I'd hate to have one right now. My guess is that he'll be sore for a couple of days, but I don't expect it to be anything more than that.
You mentioned some of the other drivers. Did you expect Deng to go to the basket with as much authority as he did tonight. He drove more than he has all season.
I haven't watched all their games, so I can't answer that par of the question. He's pretty dog-gone good. If you go 1-14, usually that next time you are going to play a heck of a lot better. You are going to be much more focused, and I think he was tonight. He was a load for us to handle.
If I shoot 95 one day [on the golf course], the next day I'm going to play a H--- of a lot better. That's just life. I hope I am, anyway. I'm probably not as accomplished as a golfer as he is as a basketball player.
A couple of times David Noel played great defense on him, but he's bigger. He just jumped over him and shot it in the basket.
What did you think of Jackie's ability to run, following the injury?
He's a little rusty. He doesn't have the push-off. That one time when J.J. sort of faked at him and he kept running--because he can't stop and start as quickly. Also, I think he tried. He competed his rear end off.
Last time I said I have no complaints about my team. I'd like for us to play better, but you think of the number of teams that could have come in here and won this game tonight, and it's not a very long list. Our kid