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March 31, 2001

Shane Battier

Mike Krzyzewski

Jason Williams


CHRIS PLONSKY: We will let Mike make some opening comments, then if you would direct your first questions to the players by raising your hands. Coach, congratulations.

MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Thank you. We feel very fortunate. It's another amazing game. I mean, four great games with Maryland. I thought both teams were deserving of victory with their effort. Our kids really executed down the stretch. I thought our big guys played their best game. Casey Sanders and Carlos Boozer, that defense and offense combined really gave us the best game we've had inside all year long. In the second half, we -- Jason and Shane played so well, but probably the biggest spark we had the whole game was Nate. I thought Nate came up with some big rebounds, and he fought Dixon in the second half. He really played well, not that you can stop him, but it was harder for him. I thought Dixon not only mentally dominated us, but Dixon dominated the first half. We were able to play better defense on them and executed really well down the stretch; hit free throws. Our defensive rebounding in the last seven minutes was very good.

CHRIS PLONSKY: Questions for Shane and Jason, please.

Q. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think your coach said after the game at halftime you weren't going to run any plays for the rest of the game. Could you elaborate on how that happened?

SHANE BATTIER: It was accurate. The first half we didn't play as smooth as we had hoped. We were looking to run plays to bail us out. But at that point, the best thing for us was just to play basketball and play our motion offense and just play off each other. That's why we've won so many games this year, our instincts and our ability to play off each other.

JASON WILLIAMS: That problem was primarily my responsibility. I shouldn't have been calling so many plays. For some reason, I didn't do that. (Inaudible.)

Q. Shane, I'm wondering if that's what you meant yesterday when you said this game was going to be one of resiliency.

SHANE BATTIER: I tell you what, it's really ironic that in the four games each time has won the game, it's come down from double digits. That was in the back of my mind, we were down 20. I was hoping to continue that trend.

Q. In the later second half, Maryland came out on that one-two to the zone with Danny Miller at the top. It seemed like you had a fairly easy time beating that, especially with the dribble. I was wondering if you could talk about what you were able to do against that defense.

JASON WILLIAMS: Pretty much they're so good with their man they're good at helping off. With their zone, they were keeping it wide since we have good shooters. Gave me an opportunity to drive, and I took advantage of what I can do really well.

Q. Jason, the switch of you going to Dixon instead of Blake, was that a mental lift as well as a kind of a game lift, not having to deal with Blake?

JASON WILLIAMS: I think it's because we have a great freshman in Chris. Chris' ability to put ball pressure is probably better than anybody on our team. Why not have Chris pressure the ball well when I play off the ball.

Q. For either player, first when you're down by 22, were you worried? Secondly, did you think back to the fact that maybe no lead by Maryland is safe against you after what happened in that first game you met?

JASON WILLIAMS: Well, I just thought we needed a sense of urgency. I thought that was the main thing for us. I mean, being down 20, I think the primary thing for us to do was just to get the lead back in the, you know, single digits. I thought that was the main thing to do, you know, going into halftime. Take it in steps. We weren't going to get it back in one shot. We did a good job doing that.

SHANE BATTIER: We were waiting for something to happen to give us a glimmer of hope. I don't know what play it was, but after someone got a foul in the bucket, it brought it in and said, "That's what we need. Let's just play ball now." We just wanted to claw our way back into the game, and we knew going into halftime down 11 that we would have to claw our way back into the game and were in the position to go for the win.

MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: We missed a lot of layups. They were playing well, but when you miss layups, I think it adds to -- it can make you nervous. It gets you out of , "We should have hit that," and it affects you on the defensive end when you miss shots you think you should make. We might have missed ten of them in the first half. I mean, not necessarily just wide-open layups, but things right around the basket. I thought it knocked our guys back. Carlos, the very first play he got, you know, we should have scored on it, and we missed. Things like that, I think, we have some young guys. It kind of knocked us back. And Maryland, of course, knocked us back. There's no question about that.

Q. Shane, can you talk about -- heading into the game, Lonny Baxter was very hot and was playing very well. Can you talk about what you guys did to slow him down in this game and the role Carlos had in that?

SHANE BATTIER: I think Carlos and Casey did an excellent job on defense. I think he had a tough shooting day, but I think it had a lot to do with the way Casey and Carlos fought him continually. There really was no science. We were just trying to make him score over us. A lot of credit to those guys for fighting.

Q. After Duhon went out, you had a huddle where you were slapping the floor. Can you tell me what that was about?

SHANE BATTIER: That was a turning point in the game for us. We thought if we could get a defensive stop, we could crack the game open. And that's just our little way of saying, "The time is now."

MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Let me say one more thing about Duhon. We think he had a mild concussion. We think he'll be all right. He'll be under observation for the rest of the evening, and probably by the press conference -- we anticipate him being okay. I should have said that right away, I apologize for not saying that right away.

CHRIS PLONSKY: Questions for Coach.

Q. How badly did Chris want to go back in the game at the end when you put him in there with less than a minute left?

MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Well, our doctors and trainer said that it was okay; so otherwise, when he went out, I mean his eyes were... He was down for the count. It was a big hustle play by both kids. I hope Blake is okay. I mean, to his credit, he's 18 years old. He wanted to come back, and he did come back. It ended up where we didn't need him as much because we handled the ball without him there. But, you know, hopefully he'll be fine. He'll be really fine.

Q. I'm sorry if you answered this already, I came in late. Can you talk about just being down 22 and what you were saying to the team and whether you were still calm at that point?

MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: I was disappointed with our team. I thought we played young during those first twelve minutes. And I think Maryland's, first of all, they're really good. But they also are -- they have a comfort level because of playing against us. You know, we should have one against them, not that it's comfortable playing, but that you know each other. We started making calls; we did some amazing things. (Laughing.) I mean, it was amazing, and I just told them, like, "Look, just play the way we play." I said, "You're losing by so much, you can't play any worse. And so what are you worried about? You know, we're going to lose by 40? We're already losing by 20, so will you just play?" Then at half time we had a little bit more time to settle down. I thought Nate was a big guy in the second half. Of course, Boozer. Boozer's really had a hard week of practice. And Wojciechowski, Steve has done a great job with him this week, and my staff did a really good job tonight. Not that they don't do a good job, but suggestions -- and Johnny Dawkins made a great suggestion. We were playing such catchup. We got it to two points, low 60s. We were gambling. It 69-62. He said, "Coach, next time out, we need to just tell them we don't have to gamble anymore, it's one possession." I thought it was the best suggestion of the night. At that timeout, we said, "Look, just play solid. You know, one possession at a time." I thought we played the last eight minutes probably about as well as we can play.

Q. So at halftime, was it just more motion offense? No set plays? Or did you really just tell them to go free-lance?

MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Well, you know, I'd have to explain our whole offense to you. We run motion. "Free-lance" is not the right word for it. Because we have spacing and know people who are supposed to take shots and stuff like that. What we told them is any time we got the ball off a turnover or defensive ward, to just play. That on stop-back options when they would already be stopped, we could call a set or two and take a look at things. In the first half we tried to overanalyze everything. By the way, the fifth row in this press conference is amazingly impressive and old. I think there is, I think Wilbourn (ph) did a great job of sitting a row behind, not wanting to be judged by the company in that row. It's amazing, is this a smoker for you guys or what?

Q. Can you still have that sense of wonder or amazement at what those kids can accomplish and how far they were down, and specifically the two guys who just sat next to you and what they're capable of doing in that second half?

MIKE KRZYZEWSKI: Well, just share with you something that Billy Packer said, I think he said it on TV when he was being interviewed. He said, "You know, you've had more teams with talent, but I'm not sure you've had them with more heart." I said, "I've had teams with more heart, but this one is right there." We've won a lot of games like this, not with being behind, but with making big plays. We're going to need that Monday, because Arizona's a great basketball team coached by a great coach. I think it has the makings, if both teams are rested, of being one of the truly great games for a national championship. You know, we feel honored to be their opponent.

CHRIS PLONSKY: Mike, thanks.

End of FastScripts....

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