"We felt good, to say the least, about the last 16 minutes of the game against Boston College. We withstood a tremendous show – as good as I've ever seen – from Tyrese Rice in the game. But the last 16 minutes our defense really got involved and we started making shots. You guys have always heard me say, ‘It always looks better when the ball goes in the basket.' It was a great comeback for us."
Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said he doesn't recall making a comment about other schools' injuries. Have you talked to him about that situation?
"Well, if we had talked, it would be a private thing between Mike and I, so I wouldn't share it with anybody, but we have not talked. I'm focusing on playing Florida State tomorrow night and a great Duke team on Saturday."
Is there such thing as a safe lead anymore?
"Not in this league – I can tell you that. With the 3-point shot, leads evaporate so quickly. I think if you sit back and relax and say, ‘Well, I can take my guys out, the game's over with,' then all of a sudden, you see teams having to put their guys back in. Leads do evaporate so quickly with the 3-point shot, and once a team gets momentum, it's hard to get it going back in your direction, if you've given it up. I think it's what it is in college basketball. The excitement level is phenomenal, and kids still think they have a chance."
In that situation, is it easier having to come back or holding onto the lead?
"I'd much rather have the lead. There's no question about that. In the ACC, it's not common to have great comebacks, because the other team is so good. O if you give me my choice of being up 18 to start the second half, or being down 18, I'll take being up 18 every day."
Your team has returned to the No. 1 ranking (AP) without your starting point guard. What does that say about your team?
"I like it better later in the year because it means that you've accomplished something, and I think what it says about our team is that we have gotten better defensively, [and] we have been able to withstand some adversity. We've had a guy who has really had four years of adversity and some tough times to step up and really do a great job for us in Quentin Thomas. So all of those things together have put us on a nice little run here, but I do think the defensive part and the toughness is something that I'm really proud of because some of those games have been pretty bleak.
"The kids have never stopped playing and trying to do the best they can do in the course of a 40-minute game – of course, one of them was a 50-minute game. If we can get Ty [Lawson] back completely healthy, I think it's going to make our team stronger because Quentin Thomas, Alex Stepheson, Will Graves and those guys who have been forced into action because of the injuries have had positive moments and I think that gives them confidence as well. I'm proud of the toughness of our team."
How much will Lawson play on Tuesday?
"It depends on how [Lawson] reacts. Two things – in my mind, I was saying 15 or 16 minutes on Saturday. But during the stretch that he was in there the longest time period on Saturday, Boston College called one or maybe two timeouts and we had a TV timeout. There were like two or three timeouts during a stretch of about 6-7 minutes that he was in there in a row… If it would not have been for that, I would not have played him that long.
"And during that time period, he was also in the game when we were on the [22-3] run, and so things were really going smoothly. But again, if it hadn't been for those extra timeouts, I wouldn't have been able to keep him in there. I'm hopeful to start out with the idea for him to go 15-16-17 minutes again tomorrow night, unless we have a scenario where things are working and we have some timeouts during his stretch then perhaps you can increase it a little bit. Quentin's going to start, and we'll continue him starting and normally getting him more minutes until Ty gets closer to 100 percent… We've go to be careful and make sure that we don't rush him in there and try to get 30 minutes [from him] too quickly. "