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March 10, 2017
New York, New York
Duke - 93, North Carolina - 83
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Another great game. Holy mackerel. For us, in the last nine days, we play Florida State, Carolina twice, Clemson, and Louisville. Wow, you know, just to play, and then to win all but one of them is terrific.
Tonight we beat an outstanding team, obviously a team that can win the national title. Did a great job of winning our regular season.
Our guys just fought. When we were down by 13, Jayson got that dunk, called a time-out just to get rested. Let's go. Let's try to make a charge now, and that was the play in Chapel Hill that he tried to lay up, and tonight he dunked it.
Then we came out, and the next play that we scored on I thought was the play of the game for us. We missed, and Grayson chased down a loose ball right in front of our bench, and he hit Luke in the corner. Luke hit it and got fouled, and it's a four-point play.
I thought that Jayson's move and these two guys -- these two guys are very, very special competitors. And then we just fought, and it worked out. Our guys -- they were fouling to get back, and we hit every free throw, or most free throws, and we only had that one turnover.
Again, we're really pleased and proud of the win.
Q. Coach K, you had a new player today by the name of Harry Giles, who was absolutely amazing the 15 minutes he played. And we've seen you a couple times to talk aggressively to get him in the game. What were those talks about? How did you get him to come out and be explosive those 15 minutes?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: It's interesting. Harry said his cousin was going to be out in the audience. Thank you for asking about him.
Harry, the last two games, has been terrific. I mean, his rebounding, and he had four blocked shots. But the energy -- you know, these guys give energy, and Harry -- you know, Harry is coming off of some really bad injuries. He's still -- you know, a year from now will probably get it. And he's put it all out there. When our guys have seen that, it's been a lift. It's been a huge lift for us.
So we're getting better. I said it even when we lost to Syracuse and Miami by one possession each game, that our team's getting better. We just are getting better. And these two guys and Jayson, when they're on the court, those three guys, when they're sharing it and scoring, it's a potent offensive unit. Not a big unit, these guys are guarding big guys and whatever, but a big -- and it's where Harry's contribution is coming in.
Q. Kind of following up on the Harry question. Knowing what he's gone through this season, and you were talking yesterday about the scrutiny that Duke is under, what is it like to watch him have these two games and have that success? Grayson, can you talk about it? He was talking about being a role player and coming off the bench and how he's learned that role, and you've helped him with that. If both of you can address that.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Let them talk, and if they give the wrong answer, then I'll say something.
GRAYSON ALLEN: Basically, every time I've talked to Harry, I just told him that he's really good, and it doesn't matter if he's coming off the bench, if he's in the game for two, three, four minutes. I think he can play with whoever's out there, whoever he's going up against.
So I told him that. I said, you might be playing limited minutes. You might feel like a role player, but you're not. You're extremely talented, and when you get out there, act like it. Don't be shy. Don't be trying to play into a role. Do what you can do.
That's something I learned my freshman year, and he's learned that, and he showed that.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: When you have like two ACLs, like it definitely does something to you physically. What I've told Harry, especially this last week, I said, you didn't get an ACL with enthusiasm. Like you're the most enthusiastic kid I've ever been around, and you're not bringing your enthusiasm. That was never hurt. But I think you're not using it.
And I said, just be enthusiastic and see what happens, and I think he's done that. Instead of being methodical and trying to think about everything, he's been more athletic. It's great. I'm so happy for him. And us too.
Q. Mike, just to follow up on what you just said, from a coaching, from a teaching standpoint, just how satisfying is it for you that Harry has gotten to this point now?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Great. If he didn't have that setback in September, I think he'd be really far along. It's just been that kind of season for Jayson, missed eight games and all that. For them to stay with it, not look ahead, like I'm going to the pros and whatever, but a lot of people said, well, Harry shouldn't play and whatever. Harry wants to play. Harry wants to be at Duke. Harry wants to be their teammate. Harry wants to be a college kid and be on Duke's team.
I love him for that, and these guys know that too, and they love him. He's always up. He's always up. He's got such a good personality.
Q. Mike, we've all seen teams that in March kind of get that intangible that carries them through into the tournament. Are you sensing that this team is kind of getting that in this week?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: I think they're getting to know each other really well. Even when we had that seven-game winning streak and Grayson got hurt and Amile got hurt and we didn't have a continuation there. This week, even the game in Chapel Hill, I thought we played well. We just got beat.
So they're getting to know each other better. It's a good time. It's a good time.
Q. Grayson and Luke, this might be hard to answer with Coach sitting right there, but what have you learned? You mentioned the time-out saying let's make a charge. What have each of you learned about the messages he delivers in those moments, what the tone means, what the different demeanors are? Maybe you could address that.
LUKE KENNARD: I'll start, I guess.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Remember I control playing time, just so you know.
LUKE KENNARD: I think one of the biggest things for us is we have to stay poised in situations that we're in. I think, as a group, we have learned -- we've grown up because of so many different things we've been through this season. We've had so much adversity. But I think we've grown in a sense that, when we are down in games and we want to make a charge, we continue to stay poised. We continue to stay calm. We don't let anything affect the way that we're playing as a group. We stay ourselves, and that's what it's been about, and we've really grown from that.
GRAYSON ALLEN: First of all, he's a pretty good coach. So he knows how to manage the game. That's what he's trying to teach us in moments like that. When we go on a run or when we score, okay, now it's the next play. We need this stop right here. Just learning the ins and outs of the game and which plays are important and what you need to do out of each moment.
That's what he's telling us, and when he's getting us fired up, we focus on the message, and if we need energy, we'll see that from him. So it's really just taking his message in and producing on the court.
Q. What does it mean to you to beat North Carolina here and also to advance to the ACC final?
LUKE KENNARD: I mean, it's huge. Every win is huge for us. We've taken it one day at a time, one game at a time. That's what Coach has been telling us. We've taken it day by day, making sure we're ready to go, making sure we've been rested. It's been good.
Like I said, each win is a big win for us, and today was another one. It's time to move on to the next one, and we're excited for it.
Q. It feels strange to ask you a question about anything being new all these years, but the challenge of four games in four days, never been done in this tournament, four straight wins. Have you made basketball decisions with that in mind, or is it entirely today?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: It's entirely today. Throw it all in today and -- our guys are in really good shape. I was actually amazed today because Carolina really comes at you. They not only came at us offensively, they were playing outstanding defense, really good pressure. So it could have worn us out, and it didn't.
We've cut down on practice time and physical stuff, and they want to win. We have good athletes. So they respond well, and we'll see tomorrow. Tomorrow, that's four in a row, and we'll play -- whatever it is will be really good. And we won't see anything like that in the NCAA Tournament. So this is very unusual.
But we've gotten better here. That's the main thing. We've gotten to know each other better. Playing against a team that's really desperate in Clemson and two teams that could win the National Championship in Louisville and North Carolina, just so opportunistic for us. And what everyone was saying about this bracket or that bracket, we just said we've got a chance if we can keep winning with a chance to play against the best in the conference. It's been the best.
Q. Mike, you went to that bigger look today, a little bit against Louisville too, with Jayson at the three, Harry and Amile on the inside. What does that do for you going forward? How much more confidence do you have after these last two games with that group?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: It means we have different opportunities, different looks. Offensively and defensively, we have different matchups. We're more of a team that looks for matchups, looks for things that we can try to exploit. We're not as much a play team, as much as they have a lot of freedom, and they should have it. And that gives us a new look like for Luke and Grayson to run around, two big guys, instead of Jayson being down there and popping out.
Defensively, it might give us a look about the zone. We've used zone the last two days. And it adds to our inventory, which is great.
Q. Grayson, you hit your first four three-point attempts. Were you feeding off the environment at all? And just after the past two games, how high is your confidence?
GRAYSON ALLEN: First of all, my confidence is the same. It doesn't move whether my shots are going in or not. For me, just when I'm coming off the bench, I'm just coming in and trying to give energy. Once I see the first one go in and I get another open one, just keep shooting, and that's the confidence that Coach has in me just to keep shooting. If I don't shoot it, the guys are going to tell me I need to shoot it.
Really, it's just coming in and trying to explode. I've been able to do that the last two days, and I want to continue to do that.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: I should have mentioned this. If he doesn't do what he does in the first half, we're down by 20. I mean, we could get blown out. I thought he saved us in the first half.
And that's what we need. If it's not him, then feed off Luke or, you know -- but him, what he did in the first half, they were playing a lot better -- they were playing a lot better than us than the score indicates. And his four threes made it look like we were okay, but we were close. It was almost a third round knockout, you know, without him playing the way he did.
Q. Seeing Shelden Williams gave me flashbacks to the days when Duke held teams to 39 percent from the floor. This team has not done that, but it has excelled at defending the three-point shot. Everyone knows Duke shoots the three so well. How do you defend the three so well? A huge factor, North Carolina was 5 of 22.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: I think they're accustomed to how people get threes. That's their territory. They know how to score from it, and they know how to defend it. You are who you are, you know. We can't defend inside as well, but on the perimeter we have really good players. Not that we don't have as many or as bulky. You've got to, if it's a ten-round fight, try to win six of them. Try to win certain aspects of the game and know that you're not going to win all of them.
But if we can be really good at shooting it and defending it, that differential in the game can be the difference. And tonight that helped us.
Q. Mike, sorry to ask something of a philosophical question.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: That's all right. I'm in a philosophical mood.
Q. As am I.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Why is that funny for a Polish coach? We're not allowed to be? Are you making fun of me?
Q. No, sir.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: All right.
Q. If we can go back to the Tatum dunk and your time-out there, some coaches might be reluctant to call that because you've just gotten a big play and stop the game and stop the team's momentum. You obviously saw it as a time to consolidate momentum in your little huddle.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: I say ignore.
Q. Is that something you used to do back in the days of Army or something you developed?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: I think whatever, good decision or bad decision, I'm not afraid to make a decision. And I make my decision knowing my guys, whether it be Duke, U.S., Army, I don't know my guys as well as I do now. I know these guys. I trust them. They're just moments.
There isn't like this recipe for how you coach a game, where you should take them out, there is not a recipe. You determine based on your team what you're going to do, and I've always done that, and then you pay the price. The price has been good. So it's not perfect, but what the hell.
Q. I had a similar question talking about philosophy. Roy sat in here and talked about his time-out philosophy, and you mentioned you called one after the Tatum dunk to give people rest. I was curious, you also called one in the first half when Justin Jackson hit a three to put them up 33-23. Was there a different purpose for that time-out?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Yes, to throw water in their faces and slap them. I didn't really. Verbally slap them. No, we were getting ready to get knocked out.
Sometimes -- games are not won always at the end. They're won at certain periods of time, and if you can win those periods of time by your feel, as many games as you're in, that's what I try to do. Again, I may not feel the right thing tomorrow night, but I'm going to trust what I feel. I know my guys well, and they know I believe in them, and I give them the freedom to be themselves. So that's what we're trying to do.
It's fun for me doing it that way. It never gets old because they're always -- it's always evolving. Is that philosophical enough? I didn't even use -- I don't think I used a three-syllable word or anything.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports