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March 28, 2010
Duke Â– 78
Baylor - 71
THE MODERATOR: Coach, your opening comments.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, we won an outstanding basketball game. I thought it was a great college basketball game. It's a great basketball game.
Both teams played really well, and really hard. I think our offensive rebounding kept us in it and really was the key there to get some separation in the last four minutes. When we got those two offensive rebounds, one was kicked out to Nolan and he hit a three, and one was kicked out to Jon and he hit a three.
At that point when you get six points, as a coach you think of two-point possessions. So you're three two-point possessions up as a result of two shots and two rebounds.
I thought it just knocked them back for just a second and it gave us a little wiggle room where we just got that separation. These two kids played great basketball games. Nolan and Jon were fantastic in handling the zone, and then playing defense.
Carter is a really good basketball player. He didn't dominate, which he could in a ballgame. Nolan did a very nice job on him. So we're ecstatic, proud, feel very honored and privileged to be going to the Final Four.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes.
Q. The last TV timeout you were down one, Nolan was getting ready to go to the free-throw line. Coach sent you out back to the court real early, 30 seconds or more before the buzzer went. What was that timeout like, and what was said amongst you guys when you went back out there at a time when the game was obviously on the line?
JON SCHEYER: Yeah. Well, the one thing throughout the whole game, not only during that one sequence, but we kept telling each other: We need stops and we're going to win. Mentally you need to stay so tough in that type of game because they keep coming at you.
So when there is crunch time there in the end, we just said this is all we've been working for the whole year. We want to be in situations like this. And the five of us looked at each other and said, Let's go.
Q. Can you touch on that in a sense of when you come to Duke you guys are expected to go to Final Fours and contend for National Championships. Says a lot about the program that it's been so long, since '04. But is it a special win today to get back to where Duke belongs?
NOLAN SMITH: It's definitely a very special win. This team has worked so hard starting in the summertime until now. Really working hard, and we have such great team chemistry. We're having fun playing together.
This team from the beginning of this tournament has been living in the moment. Really enjoying every single game, and you know, just playing hard. And it just feels great right now.
Q. Wondered if you could talk about Lance Thomas getting on the offensive board and the charge that Zoubek drew when Acy drove and could have put him up four or five? He gets the charge in that situation, and those two plays and two players contribute.
JON SCHEYER: Yeah, those were two of the biggest plays of the game. Zoubek especially coming over with a guy like Acy, too, it takes a lot of guts. And it was a big swing. Instead of ending, I think it was four, it's a two-point game, we're still in it. With Lance, he had a couple of plays where he kept the ball alive, which he doesn't necessarily get credit for, it's not a stat. And then the tip and dunk was just a huge play. Really a huge play. If not the biggest, one of the biggest of the game.
Q. Can you talk about the offensive rebound that you-all got? Did you-all do anything different as far as just being able to get so many of them?
NOLAN SMITH: We didn't do anything different. Our guys inside they just go after the ball with two hands. They've been doing that all year. They didn't change their game plan for this game. They attacked the ball and they gave us so many second shots. They just made big plays like that all the time.
Q. Here finally in your senior season you've reached a Final Four. What does it mean to you now after the previous three years to finally get there?
JON SCHEYER: It means a lot. We're happy to get this win. We've worked really hard, this group, and I think we've come a long way since our freshman year. And to be in a position in the Final Four and contend for a National Championship, it means a lot. I don't know if it's fully hit me. I'm sure after the year I'll have a better appreciation. But right now I'm just ecstatic and just really happy to share with all my teammates.
Q. Talk about you mentioned earlier about the tip-in dunk. Was that at the point when you-all felt the separation was going to happen?
JON SCHEYER: A little bit. I think with Baylor, especially with Dunn and Carter, you never feel really comfortable even when you get a six- or eight-point lead, because two possessions they could hit two threes. So we felt really comfortable with about five seconds on the clock.
But when that happened though, it definitely gave us a little bit of comfort room. And we knew we just needed to focus on defense. That was the biggest key.
Q. Could you talk about your ability to get to the basket against their zone, especially in the first half? And could both of you talk about Andre Dawkins? This is a kid that could have been in high school this year and he had two huge threes in the first half.
NOLAN SMITH: I guess the zone, we were really aggressive against it. We used our bigs. We just really wanted to attack it. Not let it stand us up, and we were able to get into the paint against it.
For Andre, he's not scared. When he comes to the game he looks like a 25-year-old out there on the court. He feels comfortable whenever he comes in. He's not afraid to shoot the ball.
JON SCHEYER: Yeah, with Andre, he gave us a big lift. Especially we were struggling a little bit in that first half to get some points. We were a little out of rhythm. So his two threes were huge, especially the second one when we were down six to cut to three. So that was a huge shot especially.
Q. Can you talk about you shot considerably better today than you had previously in the tournament. Did you make an adjustment, were they just falling tonight or did you do something different?
JON SCHEYER: Just coming into the game I wasn't going to worry about or think about my shot. I was just going to let it go if I was open. Just play my game, not worry about just being a spot-up shooter or anything like that. I really want to follow my instincts and not worry about it. Just throw myself into the team, and naturally it just goes in when you're doing that.
Q. The two teams you had to beat to get to this place, how physical was it? You had to earn these wins, how physical was it?
JON SCHEYER: Yeah, these two teams that we played, Purdue and Baylor, Baylor's bigger, but Purdue is such a physical team. And then Baylor, oh, they're real physical and made us work for everything.
They matched us with our size. They're bigger than us, probably. So we had to work for every rebound. It was one of those games where it was a possession-by-possession game against a really tough team.
Q. We asked you this in Jacksonville when you went 1 for 11. But did you ever think you'd win a regional championship game with Kyle going 0 for 10 from the floor?
JON SCHEYER: Yeah. Well, it's happened with me before. With the three of us, we just want to pick each other up. And Kyle was chasing around Dunn the whole game, too. He did a great job on him. That can take a lot of energy up.
But the job he did on Dunn, that's a big lift for our team. So it's not always about what we do in terms of shooting. If we have a couple of off shooting nights, but usually the three of us try to make up for it in other ways. And Kyle obviously did that tonight guarding one of the best players in the country.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach Krzyzewski.
Q. I know how close these three seniors have been to you. What does it mean to you and how significant is it to get them to a Final Four finally?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: They got me to a Final Four finally. Like I said yesterday for those of you who were here, it's not about the moments that I've been in, it's the moment that your players put you in right now. I'm really happy for this group. You get a chance to win a Regional Championship game and go to the Final Four, it's something that will be a part of your life forever.
This team will really be brothers forever. It's as close a team as I've had. You want great things to happen for people who are great with us. I mean, they've been spectacular to coach. You can tell they're really close. So I'm ecstatic about it. I can't tell you how happy I am about them taking our staff to Indianapolis.
Q. As far as the moments in this game, are you particularly proud of the fact that it was a team, as they mentioned Dawkins, a couple of big threes, Zoubek with the draw charge, and Thomas with the offensive board work. It wasn't just the big three today, right?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: No, no, it was tough. Even though Nolan got 29, which is spectacular and Jon hits five threes. They made a good point. Kyle didn't get a bucket, he hit five free throws, but he's chasing Dunn around the whole game. Dunn is as good a two-guard as we've played all year. He's just a terrific basketball player.
Although he scored 22 points, his threes didn't hurt us. He was 2 for 8. Some of that has to do with Kyle running around. I mean, Dunn is capable of a 35-40 point game. He's that good. He is that good.
So everybody contributed. And to see Andre contribute like he did was great. I thought our bigs had some problems initially with the athleticism. The kid, Acy, is a great athlete. And he played a lot more minutes than he normally does because they hit on a great lineup. They hit on a really athletic lineup against us. And that was difficult for us to adjust to.
They did a nice job of initially Acy usually slips screens. And in the first half he didn't. So that opened up some of their shooters. Second half, after a timeout, he slips and gets a dunk. So they're well-coached. They use their personnel tremendously. And the kid, Acy, he played a great game.
They're one of the best teams we've played. They're very, very good.
Q. I wanted to ask you to talk about the decision to guard Dunn with Singler. Jon was guarding a 6'11" guy to start with. So it's obviously not the conventional match-up. What's behind that? What is going through your mind when he gets the two quick fouls and you come back out with it in the second half?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Yeah. The first half was disjointed for us because of fouls, and we committed them. Kyle committed two fouls that he normally doesn't commit. But they were fouls, and they were not a veteran's foul, either one of them.
I think in his anxiety to cover Dunn, he got out of his game a little bit. Then that created a lot going on for us. It was so good for Andre to step in and fill in, just like he did in the ACC Championship game when Nolan had two quick fouls.
We thought his height might bother Dunn. Kyle's as quick as Jon, so he can guard a two guard. Just to chase him around. Then if they had to switch, Lance could go on him, too. We thought just a little bit of a height would make him more of a driver than a shooter.
But, again, he got 22 points. It's not like it was a heck of a thing or anything. At least he didn't get 35. You know, that kid's good. I really like that kid. He's an assassin.
Q. This year's tournament you're going in with the No. 1 team with a target on your back because all the No. 1s this year has produced some real major upsets. You have a huge target because you are the only No. 1 to get there. How do you quantify this team and this tournament and put in any context what your overall status of 30 years at Duke? Then you brought the US Team back with the gold. How do you quantify and put this team in perspective with your career?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: You bring up a good point about a target. We've had a target on our backs for about 25 years since we went to our first Final Four in '86. So these kids are accustomed to that.
We play in a great conference. We played, I thought, although people, I don't know. I think we're 33-5 now. We've lost on the road. But we've learned on the road.
In February and March, the only game we lost on the road after Georgetown was at Maryland. And if we hit two shots, we could have won, and they hit two shots. So we were accustomed to this type of environment.
For our guys to learn along the way like that is unbelievably gratifying to me. I don't like to say this one's better than another or whatever. This one is really good. I mean, I want to just enjoy it with these guys.
I never had a group exactly like this one. Again, we're not a great team, but we are really a good team. But we have great character. To be around that character on a day-to-day basis is so fulfilling for me. That's why I'm very, very happy for them.
With the Olympics I was happy for me and Kobe and LeBron and all those guys. Tonight I'm really happy for Jon Scheyer and Lance Thomas and Brian Zoubek and Nolan and these guys. It's just a different feeling. I wish I had a better vocabulary, there are probably better words than I'm saying, but I hope you understand what I mean.
Q. You went to Greensboro this year and so did the team, you had them ready obviously and such a tough mindset. It was like the mission was started. Are we seeing something now that started then or started after that Maryland game?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, I think in February that we used the ACC Tournament week to get better. I thought actually the game situations we were in in all three of them, tough free throws. Kyle was 0 for 10 today, but I've seen a game where Jon's 1 for 11. If Kyle had one more shot he would have matched him probably.
We won because we played defense and rebounded. I thought in today's game it was one-day preparation. Their zone is very good. But you have to do a lot in your preparation for that zone in one day.
I thought we did a good job against it. But what happened, I think, is we were thinking as a team about the zone, and we forgot to think about playing defense and rebounding like we could. And that's what we tried to remind our team of at halftime is guys were even talking like, We need to do this against them. And I said, Hey, we're okay against the zone. We need to rebound and play defense. We need to remember who we are. And they did that. They did that.
We still attacked the zone, I thought, fairly well.
Q. Smith hits a three right in front of you. 60-59, with 4 minutes to go, put you guys up by one. And you jump up in the air. How fired up were you at that point? You coached so many big games.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: I think it put us up by more than one. By three, four. It was tied at that time. He was right in front of me. So as soon as he got it, I said, shoot it! Just, that's one advantage of being on the stool. You're right there.
Just because you've got to take advantage of the moment instead of taking it back out and setting up. We just said shoot it. He shot it. And that's why he acknowledged me right after with a big smile. So that was a cool thing. That was a nice thing (smiling).
Q. I was wondering if you could talk about the Lance Thomas two rebound plays at the end? Also the fact that because of the zone your big men had to be feeders in a way in this game that they haven't been to that extent all year.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, good points. I mean, Lance again, nine rebounds. That finish was huge. But he played really good defense, too. Getting an extra possession, when you have 23 offensive rebounds, that means you had 23 extra possessions. They had 17, so it was, you know, a heck of a rebounding game.
That meant that a team has to play defense again. They play defense. The shot was taken. A lot of times the exchange is over.
When you get an offensive rebound, the team now has to play a multiple exchange on defense. Then what can you do at that moment? And those moments we were able to score. And that's what an offensive rebound does. It was tough to score on them inside. They're such a great shot blocking team.
I thought overall our big guys handled it well. And it kicked out really well against the zone. We weren't able to finish as much, but we were able to kick out for pretty good shots.
Q. Last TV timeout you're down one, 3:50 left. The timeout you were talking about reminding them of who you are. Play defensive rebounds. Is that what you said during that timeout because that's exactly what you did?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: I said you guys are fighting now. Like you're who you are, you know. Just be yourselves. Keep fighting, and it will work out well. You'll figure it out.
Throughout the second half I sensed my team getting better. I didn't think -- I thought they won the first half by probably more than three points. Thank goodness Andre hit a couple. But in the second half I thought we won it by a little bit. We kept winning it by a little bit until finally I thought we were at our best in the last two minutes. Again, that's what I'm proud of for our guys. It wasn't like calling a play or anything, they did it on their own.
End of FastScripts