April 3, 2004
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS
JOHN GERDES: We're now joined from Duke by Chris Duhon, Daniel Ewing, and Coach Krzyzewski. We'll ask coach to make a statement, then we'll open it up for questions for Chris and Daniel.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Obviously, we're extremely disappointed. I want to congratulate Connecticut. It was a very hard-fought game, disruptive game, a lot of subs, a lot of fouls. At the end, I thought Anderson's 3 was a huge play made some free-throws. We were not able to make a play. But we played plays throughout to put us in a position where I thought we had a great chance to win. I want to say that I've loved my team. You know, it's tough for it to end. But this has been a great team. It's a great team because it had a great leader. He's sitting on my right, all the way down at the end there (referring to Chris Duhon). Duhon was spectacular again, he's been spectacular for four years, it's been my honor to coach him and the other kids on the team. You just move on. It's a very difficult game to lose, but I'll tell you what, if I'm going to lose it, I'd lose it with these kids. You win and you lose together. There's a bond that's developed in both victory and defeat. That bond is lifelong. Again, congratulations to Connecticut.
JOHN GERDES: Questions for Chris and Daniel first, please.
Q. Tough question to ask, I'm sure not easy to answer, but how difficult is this game to lose, especially when you're up by eight with three and a half to go?
CHRIS DUHON: It's very difficult. I mean, like you say, we have momentum. We're up late in the game. We just couldn't get the ball in the hole. You know, in those situations, our defense wasn't that great for us today. We gave up. They made some tough shots. Anderson made a big three. We just couldn't make any plays down the stretch.
JOHN GERDES: Daniel.
DANIEL EWING: Like he said, I mean, it's hard to explain this kind of loss, you know, especially the situation at hand. I mean, like Chris said, we didn't really make any buckets and they capitalized on our misses, came on in, made that. That 3-pointer was a big turnaround for them.
Q. Chris, can you give us some thoughts about the last three minutes? Was it their outstanding face guarding or did you guys struggle with your offensive execution or a bit of both?
CHRIS DUHON: I mean, I just think that we just settled late in the game. You know, we just settled for jump shots instead of realizing that we were in a double bonus and that, you know, we needed to penetrate, hopefully get fouled, knock down big free-throws. I think in those last three minutes we settled for a lot of jump shots instead of being aggressive like we were the whole rest of the game.
Q. What did you think about the performance of Okafor in the second half?
DANIEL EWING: He played a good game, considering he was in foul trouble the first half. He sat out most of the first half. He played like he was the Player of the Year second half. He stepped up for his team, made some huge free-throws and made some big shots for them. You can't ask for much more from a player than to step up in that type of situation.
Q. Mike, for the years we see teams collapse, maybe that's a bad word, but teams have a lead.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Obviously, you didn't see the game tonight.
Q. Can you talk about how tough it is?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Which question would you want me to answer now?
Q. Talk about the difficulty of having an eight-point lead and losing that lead at the very end.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Okay, that's a good question. First of all, it's a three-possession lead. A three knocks it down to five points. That's why Anderson's was so big. We fouled a couple times there. The foul trouble we had in the second half especially was difficult because our centers played 40 minutes and had 15 fouls. So how you defend the post down at the other end got Okafor on the line. Chris was right. Chris' observation was a good one. We took a couple jump shots. Then when we were down by one, JJ made a great play, I thought. You're either trying to score or you're trying to get fouled or both. We didn't get any. You know, to me that was the game right there. You know, because we had a chance to go up. We weren't going to wait for a last shot. We just wanted to attack right away. Then they hit -- they're a big-time team and they're good. They seized on that opportunity.
Q. Regardless of how it ended, for Chris, this has to be an incredibly rewarding season, especially after what was a disappointing year for him last year, especially with the leadership he showed in the tournament with playing with the bruised ribs.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, it's a disappointing year, last year, because of the standards that people place on our program. But he led us to 26-7, we're ACC champs, and we went to the Sweet-16 with six freshman. Most people would say that's pretty damn good. But he may have been pretty damn good last year, but he was great this year. You know, we went as far as Chris Duhon took us. He took us to fabulous places this year, and ended up, you know, the second winningest player in our conference with 123 wins. It was an honor for me to coach him. I love the kid, love what he did for everybody in our program. Hopefully he'll serve as an example for other kids on how to do that.
Q. They shot 63% in the second half. That's uncommon against a Duke team. Was it just that they got really hot?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, we turned them over, though, you know. They're difficult to defend because, you know, they have an inside-outside attack. But in saying that, we still got the lead. We played -- outside of the first four minutes or five minutes of the game, I thought our kids really played well. I thought they were nervous. I don't know, they just were nervous at the beginning. But, you know, it was difficult for either team to stop one another in the second half there for a while, till right at the end. And they made a couple stops, and then they were able to knock the ball in.
Q. In the final three minutes with Okafor foul problems, they kept giving him the ball in the post. Did you think of putting him on the line to get his free-throws?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: We did put him on the line. We didn't want to. He did. He had free-throws. He went to the line, right? He was on the line. I mean, that's how we had three guys foul out, so I know he went to the line. What you want to have him do is shoot over you. The other thing that they do is they rebound missed free-throws very well because they're the best -- I'm sorry I'm not answering the question the way you want me to.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Horvath fouled out in eight minutes. Apparently he did foul him. I'm saying, I don't understand what you're saying because he was fouled. He was fouled a lot.
Q. Can you comment on Shavlik's contribution?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: He had a great NCAA tournament. Playing real well tonight. Again, our big guys just never got in a flow tonight because of all the foul trouble. But, you know, the way he played in the NCAA tournament, I'm so proud of him. It's something to build on for his future. He's disappointed he wasn't able to play a little bit more tonight.
Q. You know both surviving teams pretty well. How do you size up Monday's game?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Very even. It will be a very even game.
JOHN GERDES: Thank you very much, coach.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Thanks.
End of FastScriptsÂ….