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March 24, 2011

Mike Krzyzewski

Kyle Singler

Nolan Smith


Arizona – 93
Duke - 77

THE MODERATOR: We will open it up for Duke student-athletes and Coach Krzyzewski.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, first of all, congratulations to Arizona. They played a phenomenal game, especially in the second half; and Williams, he's just a superb player. He's as good as anybody we've played, or I should say better than anybody we've played. He kept his team in there in the first half.
I thought we played a little better than the score in the first half, but Williams getting 25 just kept them in. And the rest of their team really responded in the second half. I just want to say for our team, I'm disappointed for them, especially for the two guys on my left; but, look, the tournament is cruel. It's an abrupt end for everybody when you don't win. Last year it wasn't an abrupt end for us, when we won the whole thing. You have to look at the full body of work, these guys have been part of 125 wins over a period of four years and it's been an honor for me to coach them.
They're warriors, and I love them, but that's part of sport. The better team won tonight. But I'm very proud of my team, and especially these two kids.

Q. Nolan, I was wondering if you could talk about what Arizona did to kinda throw you guys off your game with their defense and then what they did offensively to score 93 points.
NOLAN SMITH: Defensively they did a great job, really clogging the paint and forcing us to hit shots and make extra passes. They also did a good job of closing out when we made those passes. They did a good job overall playing defensively and offensively. Derrick Williams had a great game and they made shots. Everybody on their team stepped up.

Q. Kyle, obviously you guys knew that Williams sort of carried them, but I guess this was a career high for him. Were you as surprised that he was as good as he was?
KYLE SINGLER: Coming in we knew he was a good player, but he made shots early. Like Coach said before, he kept his team in the first half and he had 25 of his 32 points in the first half. So coming in I did know he was a good player, though.

Q. Coach said this before, and it certainly looked like it, but did you feel that you had the game in control when you went into the half?
KYLE SINGLER: Well, we were playing fine, not great, but, you know, we felt like we were in it, yeah. But when we came out in the second half we just didn't play very good basketball and it's very disappointing. It hurts, and they hurt us on the boards, too, especially in the second half.

Q. Kyle, as you mentioned, Williams only had 7 of his 32 in the second, but what kind of things was he doing in the second to allow them to obviously have a great half besides scoring? What else was he doing since you were guarding him a lot of the time?
KYLE SINGLER: He was being active, rebounding the ball, his presence out there, it's good, so he helped his team in many ways, but I thought he hurt us on the offensive end and defensive boards.

Q. Speak to Arizona's physicality in the second half. Seemed like they were rebounding better and doing things inside that got you out of your game.
KYLE SINGLER: I don't know if it was their physicality, it was more that we just didn't get the ball. We got hands on rebounds, but we didn't secure them. That was most of the reasons why they got most of their offensive rebounds.
NOLAN SMITH: Yeah, basically they got those loose balls. We were in position to get the rebounds, and we just didn't come up with them, but they were definitely swarming the rebounds and flyin' in, making plays.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, gentlemen. We will open up the floor to Coach Mike Krzyzewski.

Q. Can you talk about the disparity in energy levels in the second half? It seems like Arizona was so aggressive.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: They were. I can't explain that. That's what happens in sports, sometimes one team gets more aggressive than the other. I do think they saw shots going in and we didn't see shots going in.
Even free-throws -- we didn't -- they just got on a real roll. When you get on a roll, you have more energy than the other guy who doesn't get on a roll. I don't think it's something our kids did poorly, but we had no stop for them. And you kind of get overwhelmed there for a little bit and they knocked us back and got that double-digit lead like that.
It looked like they were going to do that at the start of the half, and we called a time-out and we got back to a three-possession lead; and boom, they hit again. They didn't miss many shots there for a while and I think they got -- they were already confident, but I thought their confidence level went up tremendously.
And, you know, with Williams, he gives you confidence. You always know that you have that guy on the court. Even when he's not scoring, he spreads you out. There is a physicality to this game. Clean, beautiful -- he's a beautiful player.
But it gives them that presence all the time, and if they start hittin'; then, boom, it goes to another level, which it did in the second half.

Q. Coach, you answered part of my question about Williams. What goes through your mind as a coach trying to adjust throughout the game to do whatever it takes to keep him off the scoreboard?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: It's a challenge, you know, but when you get to the Sweet 16 you're going to have challenges. Everybody is good. He puts you -- I wasn't yelling at you --

Q. You can start over again.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: That's all right. What I was saying wasn't that good! (Chuckles.) He just gives you a presence all the time, that kid. He looks like he never gets tired. He can handle the ball. I think he's actually their second-best ball handler, the way they were playing, nothing to take away from their other kids, but he is a unique player and as a result -- like I thought Kyle did a decent job on him in the second half, but that means our bigs are guarding a little bit away from the basket and you're spread out -- when they did miss a shot -- I thought their offensive rebounds were key in the second half to stop some momentum. And part of that is how he plays. He just -- he's a very unusual player to guard. He's a great player. Great kid. I told him afterwards, he's a special kid, special player.

Q. Coach, I'm sure you haven't given this any thought because you just played, but Kyrie has a decision to make after --
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Let's not talk about that. I mean, that's uncalled for right now. Let's just talk about the game and the beautiful way that Arizona played and not future decisions. You can call my office later, you know -- how would we do that, Ken? You think I just grabbed him and talked to him about that? I just hugged him because he's cryin'. I'm not talking to him about him going pro. Those things will happen in due course.

Q. Mike, even people that have seen Arizona were stunned by what they did in the second half.

Q. It seemed to come out of nowhere, even though they're a good team obviously, but you must have felt you were in good shape at halftime. Was there a feeling in the second half -- I've never seen this before from these guys? It's kind of like out of nowhere.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: We thought we could have been up by double digits at halftime, but Williams was so good. We actually played what I thought was a good first half, but Williams, he had 25 points, and that kept them in the ballgame.
Then they got a momentum going and they're good and they've won two really tough games to get here, so you know they're tough-minded, Pac-10 champs and they got on a roll.
In a one-game shot, you know, I mean, it's happened to me before. Not that many times where all of the sudden you just can't stop 'em. They were phenomenal in the second half. We couldn't stop 'em. We just couldn't stop 'em.

Q. Coach, sort of a strange question, but does it make it easier that it got away at the end as opposed to losing a 1-point game?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: I think losing is losing. You know? I mean, when you're -- the reason this tournament is as great as it is is because it's an abrupt end to everybody's season except one team, and that doesn't -- you know, it's very difficult. So when you get knocked out of it, you know, it doesn't make it easy. They played a lot better than we did in the second half, so they were obviously deserving of winning. Instead of one play, but it doesn't make it easier.
I would have rather had the opportunity to have one play and see what the heck would happen in that one play, but the way they were playing that wasn't the way it was going to be.

Q. With what Arizona has gone through the last two, three seasons and things being staggered a little bit, a win like this, as an opposing coach do you see them as having a "down" program --
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: No, I never looked at Arizona -- Lute did such a tremendous job of establishing a "brand."
Lute is one of the top coaches to ever coach in college and that brand never went away even though there were some not-so-good things happening, and then Sean is just a heck of a coach.
He's a really good guy, but he's a great coach and he had his team so well prepared. It was a great hire for them, to build back a brand that was right -- you know, it's there. They have great support, that Lute built with his kids over a couple of decades.
They were -- the name Arizona has always been a big part of this tournament, and now for this year they're in the Elite Eight with a chance of going to the Final Four. So they're in great hands; and, again, I want to congratulate 'em. We lost to an outstanding team and outstanding coach and really a good program tonight.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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