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November 23, 2005

Mike Krzyzewski


COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Well, obviously Drexel played a great game. They knocked us back defensively. They played a little bit different than they normally play as far as pushing the ball up the court. I thought Mason was just outstanding in the first half, but their whole team was really good, throughout the game but especially in the first half. I'm not -- I don't think I prepared our guys as well for that type of initial thrust by them. Really, they outplayed us by a lot, I thought, in the first half. J.J.'s performance gave us the lead. Without him, and I thought Martinez came off the bench and made some big plays for us. In the second half, I thought we played much better. I don't think they outplayed us; I think they continued to play well and I thought we played well in the second half with a lot of adversity. Shelden's four fouls, DeMarcus, the initial prognosis is he's got a hairline fracture in his ankle, which doesn't appear to be good. It's not like a sprain. So I don't want to say any more than that because they have him at the hospital for X-rays, and we'll put out word on that tomorrow. I thought Paulus came in in the second half and did a good job-making decisions, he had five assists and no turnovers. We executed well at the end of the ballgame, and keeping Shelden in, we had to shorten the game a little bit because of his foul trouble. I thought he was the best offensively when he had the four fouls. So guys stepped up, some guys hit some big free throws and we beat a team that was certainly deserving of a win. Drexel, Bruiser's team played winning basketball tonight, and for us to come out with any type of a victory against them tonight, it was an accomplishment.

Q. Was that a conscious effort on your part to go inside on the second half to cut down the running game a little bit? It looked like you had a power game in the second half.

COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Yeah, we tried to do that more and then Shelden got those -- he committed the fouls. I'm not saying they were bad calls. He's got to stay out of foul trouble. And then Josh, actually, asserted himself a couple of times offensively when Shelden was out of the game. You know, we have a team, we have four seniors and five freshmen, and we're not -- I don't know about being overrated, underrated or whatever, but we're not any powerhouse. We've got to do things right. We've got good players and they can become a really good basketball team, and they played well in the second half. But we've got to do that right from the start against all competition.

Q. Would you like to see Josh be more assertive all the time?

COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Yeah. Part of it is he's not a real player outside of the low block, so you end up having two guys in the low blocks. He deferred some to Shelden, which he should, but then he's got to be on the boards. See, I don't think we've really seen him be the offensive rebounder he can be, because a lot of times people are doubling Shelden or they get around him, even if he puts up a shot that's a little bit forced, we should have a chance at getting boards. They outrebounded us by ten. We had less than double figure offensive boards. That's an area that I think he can really help us in, I mean, big. We have two kids who should get -- not should, but could, get double-figure rebounds every night, he and Shelden. And again, it's his fourth game in college. He in some respects would be further along but he's just by himself, although we might be 0-4 -- or, no, we wouldn't be 0-4 because we wouldn't be here. But there's still a lot of development there to do.

Q. Defensively there's a bigger test for you guys, how did the team come through team defense-wise for the freshmen in particular in it was a test for everybody.

COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: I thought the second half we played really good defense. We kept Mason out of the paint. We didn't defensive board very well and a lot of that, we hardly ever had the two big guys in, because of foul trouble. But we didn't give up open looks like we did in the first half. I thought they had to run half-court offense against us. In the first half, we were kind of following them around, and that was because of their thrust down the court. Mason's good, and it was a well-conceived plan. I mean, I'm commending -- they were really good. We beat a really good team tonight. We had some adversity and I thought our guys, it was not an easy game for us. Obviously, you'd say with the score, but in a number of ways. So guys stepping up, whether it be Josh, Greg, Sean, not letting penetration, those are all big things in the development of our basketball team.

Q. How would you assess Pocius' play in the first half?

COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Well, he and J.J. saved us. We kind of -- we were hit with a knockout punch a little bit. We got hit with a couple of haymakers -- I don't know if they still say that; I might be dating myself -- but not hard. (Laughter). And Marty got us off the canvas, so to speak. J.J. did, too. Then we thought with -- Greg actually played well defensively. We got in that lineup with those three perimeter guys with Sean, J.J. and Greg, that seemed like we could control the game a little bit. You know, like even though we could not break away, we weren't going to turn it over, we were playing pretty good defense on the perimeter. When we switched, we had guys who kind of played good defense.

Q. Is this what you've come to expect from J.J., your backs are against the wall a little bit and he has a big night, 31 points and largely responsible for the outcome?

COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: J.J. has been a great player. John if you can expect greatness; it just kind of happens. You know, he was trying to put the whole team on his back and a couple of times he forced some things, but he forced them out of knowing that, is anyone else going to step up right now. And that's where we have to have our freshman, where Marty stepped up, he hit a couple of big shots right now. Lee right now is not that. We even were taking some time off the clock, we had some open, wide open looks that he's going to hit. He's just not there offensively right now. But we need Lee to be assertive in that way.

Q. Do you think Marcus is out for a while, where do you go from there?

COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: I don't know. We're going to have to evaluate that. It will change the type of team we are, really, because he's our best athlete, and supposedly our defensive stopper and a good rebounder. That's just the way it goes, we have to change, and we'll change by Friday and take a look at something and see if that works.

Q. It's obviously too early to know who you're playing, curious if you've seen Memphis at all in?

COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: I've just seen a little bit of both teams. I try not to look at the other teams, until now. The little bit I saw, I saw about five minutes of the game against Alabama, they looked like they really move the ball down the court.

Q. Shelden seemed to get some more open looks in the second half; did you change anything on your offense to get him more one-on-one looks?

COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: I just think we executed better. I hope this team doesn't take on -- last year in the second half, we always executed better because it's in front of our bench. We've got to execute when it's not in front of our bench, where we're placing people. Our guys have to place each other in those positions. I think that was a little bit of the case today.

Q. Why do you think Shelden played so much better after he came back in with the four fouls?

COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Well, he's a good player. He's one of the best players. He played because he's good, and he played smart so he wouldn't foul. And they went right in at him, and those two times; and he thought he did a good job of avoiding a foul. The one thing then, if they are spending time trying to foul him out, in some respects, that was good, because they were forgetting their three-point shots. Shelden's play in the second half was critical, when he came back with four fouls, he played a great end of the game, I mean, big time, hit big free throws for us, too. Thanks.

End of FastScripts...

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