Feb. 7, 2015

Recap | Box Score | Notes | Photo Gallery

Notre Dame Head Coach Mike Brey

Opening Statement:

“They were fabulous; they played great. Where did Matt Jones come from in the first half? He was really good, and I thought their ball pressure harassed us, bothered us, and never really let Jerian Grant or any of us get in any kind of rhythm. [Justise] Winslow and [Jahlil] Okafor were fabulous. It was one of those [games] where you’re hanging on for dear life. In this league, you have to have a short memory; we have a tough game at Clemson coming up. But I’ve seen [Duke] play a bunch and it has to be one of their best outings. They got to our lane too easily. After we went up 6-0, they started driving us and that really hurt us. Our defense let us down today.”

On the keys to Duke’s opening run:

“I think it was their defense. They really contested and pressured the ball. They were so good on the ball screen, and that’s so important to us. I thought Okafor was better on the ball screen today than I had seen him all season. We got a little more [scoring off the ball screen] in South Bend, but we couldn’t get any of it today with Jerian.”

On the tone of his halftime message:

“You’re talking about, `Let’s see if we can play four-minute segments, and see if we can chip away a bit and make it interesting.’ You give the team hope, because we’ve been good offensively and we’ve been able to put numbers up. We had one little segment in the second half that looked like us, but they quickly answered. Then you just try to finish the game playing with some of our habits. And it was nice to get some of our [bench] guys in a game at Cameron Indoor Stadium. I got our key guys out because we have a game coming Tuesday. You have to have a short memory win or lose in league play.”

On moving forward from the loss:

“We’ll move on quickly. I would hope and I would think–given the leaders I have and the leaders of this group–that they’ll bounce back in another tough place to play against a team that can guard us really just as well. We have a big challenge at Clemson. Clemson is slowly becoming an NCAA tournament team. They’ve been off the radar, but they’re sneaking up on everybody. They’re really good.”

On the atmosphere at Cameron Indoor Stadium:

“I would think the atmosphere probably knocked [our players] back on their heels a little bit, as much as you try to diffuse it. I haven’t been here for a while, but it’s amazing. It’s a really amazing home court atmosphere Duke has here.”

On the differences between today’s game and their home victory:

“Their defense was better. Especially in the first half when they really threw the knockout punch, their defense was really good for 20 minutes. We couldn’t get any kind of confidence going. A lot of times when you can’t score it, you don’t dig in as hard defensively because you’re searching for ways to score. I think Grant and [Pat] Connaughton got caught in that a little bit, thinking that we couldn’t get anything going. And then you don’t concentrate as much defensively. In South Bend, we were able to score it a little bit more against them.”

On how Duke was able to stop Jerian Grant:

“Duke had a lot to do with it, and so did Quinn Cook. I thought Quinn Cook, his old high school teammate, really guarded him well. But we’ll move on quickly; we’ll tear up the stat sheet and throw the video away. We need to get in at practice tomorrow and get ready to head south again.”

On the team’s attitude going forward:

“I think this group will bounce back very quickly. They’ve been through a lot; they’ve been a really tight group. Knowing the kind of guys and the kind of leaders I have, I would think they’re going to rally the troops and have some edge about them–first in practice tomorrow.”

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski:

Opening statement:
“We played great in the first half. We played really well in the second half too, but the first half was lights out. Our defense was tremendous. I think our defense sparked our offense. We started out [down] 6-0, and then they had a hard time scoring and we didn’t. It was just spectacular. They’re an outstanding team. They’ve beaten us. They can beat anybody and they have beaten most people. We feel very fortunate to have played so well and come up with this big win. Justise [Winslow] has just played so well. He has really learned to play through his injuries. That’s the sign of a guy [who is] really growing up and becoming an outstanding player. You’ve got to play a little bit sore without talking about it and that is what he is doing. He let his actions speak for himself and we did a lot of that with Jahlil [Okafor] on the bench. I am proud of my team. Hopefully we can turn around this thing really quick, head to Florida, and play really well Monday night at Florida State.”

On play of Matt Jones:
“Matt is the consummate team player. He has helped us since the St. John’s game. He has been a huge part of every game and giving us a better and tougher character. He is a good shooter, and today he was a great shooter, but he is a great competitor all of the time. He can play any position. He will guard a center if you want him to. He gives everything. He puts his heart on the court. The guys love him and he is one of the easiest guys to play with. I feel so proud for him.”

On whether or not Matt Jones’s time is here:
“His time is here. It’s not coming. It is here. If you keep thinking about the future that something else is going to happen you don’t take advantage of the present and your opportunity to have an impact. His time is right now. Thank goodness, 17 points and added an amazing verve to our team when he was in. With [Notre Dame] because they go small, having those four guys in there with Jahlil or Marshall [Plumlee] or Amile [Jefferson], they have an unusual lineup, but that’s one of the things that makes them good. They’re unusually good.”

On Duke’s play in the first half:
“We have not executed that way in a long time. That was almost perfect. It was so good. I like the fact that our guys, when we got some lead, didn’t let up. Notre Dame isn’t going to lie down. They’re going to come back at us. The first half was something to behold. Tonight there was an incredible crowd. It was a Cameron crowd.”

On whether or not anybody could see this result coming:
“They’re too good [to see this coming]. They missed some shots, but no coach would have ever expected [Notre Dame] to perform this way. Mike [Brey] has a top ten team. They’re 9-3 now in our conference. They’re 21-4. They’re one of the best teams in the country. I would hope that we’re up by one by halftime and not in foul trouble and not have anybody hurt.”

On Jahlil being off of the court with foul trouble:
“We could still key on all of their shooters and [Notre Dame] is not going to go inside that much. It blended in there where Matt, Justise, Tyus [Jones], or Quinn [Cook] could be on the court and it matched up more.”

On leaving Okafor on the court with three fouls:
“We would have put him in with two in the first half but we kept increasing the lead. I play my guys with two fouls in the first half and I play them if they get an early third foul in the second half. If we hopefully get to tournaments, when you get there, you’re not going to win with their best player on the bench. He has got to learn how to do that.”

On the evolution of the man-to-man defense this season:
“I thought we played great man-to-man today. We will play better defense when we are talking and communicating and playing hard. The word that we try to use is “together.” Just be together. The only way to be together is if you talk because then you’re not assuming something. In the second half, the zone helped us. We weren’t hitting [shots] and we went to zone and we got five points. You could feel like we were back in there. We are going to play multiple defenses and hopefully we talk and we play them together.”

Sophomore Matt Jones:
“I was telling myself I was due for a big game and what better place than playing Notre Dame again for a revenge game. Overall, I’m just happy I was able to affect the game in a positive way for my team and we got the win, which was the ultimate goal.”

On his career-best performance today:
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t happy right now. It definitely boosts my confidence a lot and hopefully I can just build on it.”

When asked what it means that Duke was able to build such a huge lead without Jahlil Okafor in the game:
“It says a lot. It says to everybody that we can be a great team when we actually hone in on defense and trust each other on the offensive end as well.”

On what Duke did differently this afternoon on defense:
“We just talked more. We got back to how we were at the beginning of the year and wanted to prove to people that we can play defense and lock up on that end.”

On what a win like this does for the team:
“It gives us ultimate confidence – confidence to know that we can play against anybody anywhere. For the guys we have, we have winners and competitors and ultimately if we play like that the whole year, we have a chance to be `that team’ come April.”

Freshman Jahlil Okafor

On the play when he picked up his second foul midway through the first half:
“I was just trying to be aggressive and send a message that one man can’t guard me. My teammates told me at halftime that they felt I set the tone for them when I did sit out.”

On what it was like to watch a good bit of the first half from the bench:
“It was a lot of fun. It felt like I was out there on the floor with the guys. It doesn’t get much better than that – seeing my teammates out there having a blast.”

“[This win] shows how great of a team we are, and when we put our mind to it, we can be a great defensive team. We were just really hungry and we really wanted this win tonight. We just brought intensity. We felt like no matter how many points we scored, we wanted to limit [Notre Dame]. We know they’re one of the best offensive teams in the country, so we really wanted to do our best defending them.”

When asked what it takes for Duke to carry this level of play forward to the rest of the season:
“Just stay hungry and realize that all that was our seventh win in conference play and we really want to get to the eighth win at Florida State.”

“The past two weeks have been crazy. We realize that no other team has had the couple of weeks we just had with the games and [Coach Mike Krzyzewski] winning the 1000th win, then losing the next game.”

“We know this isn’t a one-dimensional team and I guess today in the first half, the country got to see that.”

Freshman Justise Winslow:
“We wanted to have a great Cameron Indoor moment. Notre Dame is a great team, but we just wanted to go out there and play our game. We haven’t been playing like that lately, the way we were talking and just really picking up the energy on the defensive end. They couldn’t score. They got up 6-0 really quick, but other than that we really just contained them. We did a great job collectively of controlling [Jerian] Grant, and I think that led to a lot of success.”

Continued on reverse

When asked what was different about today defensively for Duke:
“To be honest, this is the defense that Coach [Mike Krzyzewski] envisioned us playing the whole year, this type of intensity, shutting teams down with the athletes we have. This has been Coach’s mindset and his vision for us the whole year and I think today we really just went out there and executed it. It just so happened that all eight guys were just locked in. When you have a game like that where everyone is so focused and into the game, then you get something special like that.”

“That’s the tough part – staying consistent. But now that we’ve done it, Coach [Mike Krzyzewski] knows that we can do it, so we’ve just got to keep that confidence, keep that energy and continue to do it, because today we set the standard so we’ve got to living up to that standard and keep competing like that.”

On Jahlil Okafor picking up his second foul midway through the first half:
“At halftime, I told Jahlil [Okafor] that his dunk really set the tone. Even though they called the offensive foul, he just put the dude in the rim and that really set the tone for the rest of the first half. From that point on, we just started dominating them. Jahlil’s a great player so a lot of our team revolves around him, but when he went out, [it was] next guy up. So when the next guy came in, we just kept battling and kept fighting, but I really think that play by Jahlil just set the tone for the rest of the first half.”