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March 16, 2012

Mike Krzyzewski

Mason Plumlee

Miles Plumlee


Lehigh – 75
Duke – 70

THE MODERATOR:  We'll start with an opening statement from coach and then take questions for the student‑athletes.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  Well, I want to congratulate Lehigh, their kids played a great game.  They had the best player on the court tonight in McCollum.  He's been their Player of the Year, and he's really one of the outstanding players in the country.  You could see why tonight.
But all their kids played well.  We just haven't been in sink offensively these last couple weeks, and it showed up again tonight.  Although they played really good defense.  But our offense, which was a real strength of ours the entire season, the last two weeks has not been very good.  And that's my responsibility.  But again, congratulations to them.
The game is a great game.  I've been in it for 37 years and it takes you to incredible highs.  And it also takes you to incredible lows.  And tonight's one of those lows.  But it wasn't just our doing, they played that well.  They played that well.  And again my hat's off to them.  You just have to give them a lot of credit for hanging in there.  And there was some game pressure on them when we came back, and they seemed to always have an answer and they were very bold.  They were very bold the entire game.  I thought that we started the game tentative, and at different times we just seemed very tentative on the offensive end.  They were bold throughout and bold won.
THE MODERATOR:  Take questions for the student‑athletes.

Q.  What was the hardest most difficult part of facing Lehigh in the tournament?  I just assume you guys didn't know a lot about them going into it from ‑‑ I don't know.  What was like the hardest part about taking them or challenging them?
MASON PLUMLEE:  Well, we knew about them.  We watched a lot of film.  We knew they were a good team.  We just ‑‑ McCollum really led them and played well.  If he wasn't scoring himself, he was helping other people get open.  We didn't guard the ball screen very well, and he got a lot of stuff off of that.
It wasn't a matter of we didn't know them, we had plenty of preparation, we took care of that end of it.  It just didn't translate to the game.

Q.  This is your last game and it's a disappointing way to go out, obviously, but if you were to meet a freshman coming into Duke or maybe you already have, what would you tell them about the things that he can expect being a Duke basketball player?
MILES PLUMLEE:  Firstly I would tell them you're becoming part of a family and we've got the best coaches, best staff, I mean, just the best everything.  And you've got to make the most of it.  You've got to bond with your teammates, then they become your brothers on the court and just never let anyone down and you're going to have a great time.
But a night like tonight, it's tough.

Q.  Miles, I had the opportunity now to watch you for the last several years.  I know it's a disappointment tonight, but you look back upon your career, is it just too soon to just think about everything that you and your teammates have accomplished over your tenure at Duke?
MILES PLUMLEE:  Yeah, I've been a part of some amazing teams, and I had some amazing accomplishments, but people remember you for how you leave and this isn't how I wanted to leave.

Q.  Coach talked about you being tentative at the beginning, can you as a player talk about what that?  What was going on at the beginning?  What were you feeling like?  Why do you think you were tentative, if that's what you felt like?
MASON PLUMLEE:  I don't have an explanation.  We should have addressed it.  We should have gotten on one another.  But for whatever reason, we couldn't get in sync offensively in particular.  It's just not good when you aren't working together and you aren't in sync.  It's hard to beat a good team and they were together and they played well tonight.

Q.  Coach mentioned how tough Lehigh played on defense.  Can you talk about some of the things they were doing to you guys to make things obviously difficult for you guys out there?
MILES PLUMLEE:  They just played tough, hard nosed defense.  They were denying the post, denying the passing lanes, playing physical, crashing the boards, that's what you expect.  A lot of us have been through this before and that's what every team brings in the tournament.  We need to match that from the get go.
MASON PLUMLEE:  Like Miles said, obviously they had a week to prepare, as did we, and I think their game plan was to take away our outside shooting, really get in on our guards and they really plugged in the lane well.

Q.  Question for Mason.  You were 9‑9 from the field for the game.  Do you feel like you should have gotten the ball more?
MASON PLUMLEE:  No.  If I didn't get the ball, that was on me.  Tyler and the other guys were looking for me.  I had my opportunities.  It wasn't about me.  We needed to get scores as a team and we went about that the best way we knew how.
THE MODERATOR:  All right.  Thanks, guys.  Let's take questions for coach.

Q.  You look back at this loss, I know the emotions coming off this loss, but do you think looking over your 37 years coaching this might be the toughest loss of your career?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  Well, for me the next loss is the toughest.  So this is the next one.  The worst loss I've ever had as a coach was with our national team in the World Championships in 2006 to Greece, because that was for my country and you don't get too many of them.  Though that's the only loss we have had.
So for me, my program, you're on a continuum.  There are four years that we ended up with a win in my 37 years.  It's not football where you have a bowl game and 35 people end up with a win out of a hundred.
So when that loss comes and how it's inflicted, you just take responsibility for it.  I think overall my team did a great job this year.  But we did not do a really good job this last week and a half, and so that's upsetting.  Because no matter what happens, injury or whatever, you should‑‑ you're responsible for trying to figure out a way that your team can play well.  And so that's on me.  But it's tough to ‑‑ I don't like to grade losses.  It just because this is the ending of the season, it's particularly tough.
But we lost to a really good team.  That kid is really good.  McCollum is one of the better players we played against.  And they're well coached.  And so I know we lost to a really good program and a team that's playing at their best.

Q.  Were you out of sync offensively in part because Ryan Kelly wasn't there?  And talk about his absence.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  Well, yeah, but I don't want to blame it on that.  We have had a week after the ACC tournament to prepare, and we did prepare certain things but we didn't execute them.  At this time of the year, you should be as instinctive as possible.  And when you introduce something new at this time of the year, there's a tendency not to be in sync, especially with the pressure of the game or how well a team is playing against you.  And that to me that added to the being tentative.  You can be‑‑ you can flow real easy in practice with some of the new things, but there's just all‑‑ it's a different ball game when you're actually out there.  That goes with the game, though.  That's part of the game.  We just were not like instinctive.  There were spurts that we had, but the last three ball games we have been just kind of mucking it out offensively and again tonight.

Q.  Your team played really, really well down at Florida State.  And it seemed like that the games after that were games that were not your best.  Is there something that maybe you can put your finger on why the game did not progress in those last games of the season?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  No.  We played well in other games or in spurts of games or else we wouldn't have won.  We would have lost all the games.  But we have not shot well for about three weeks.  And we weren't shooting well when Ryan was in.  And then when he went out, then we continued not to shoot well.
We're not this‑‑ we're not ‑‑ we're not a juggernaut or anything like that.  We have known that throughout the whole season.  You have to do it pretty precise, and we just didn't play well offensively the last few weeks of the season.  Actually we got better defensively, but offensively we just weren't there.

Q.  I was just curious, what was your guys' defensive strategy against C.J.?  I saw you put four different defenders on him throughout the game and were doing a lot in terms of switching the screens coming off the ball.  But could you tell everyone ‑‑
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  There are numerous defensive strategies against him.  He shot 24 times, he's 9‑24.  We wanted him to be a volume shooter but not foul him.  And so the fouls were the things that‑‑ you see that ball going in with the free throws, but you can always‑‑ look, we could do everything a little bit better.  We didn't lose the game because of our defense.  We lost the game because of our offense and our lack of precision on the offensive end.  And that kid just says ‑‑ him being on the floor makes everybody better.  So if we could have fouled him out or got him into foul trouble, that would have been the best strategy, because he just makes people‑‑ he makes people better.  When you are playing with an outstanding player, especially if he passes you the ball, you believe you should hit the shot because ‑‑ we have had that on our, in our program numerous times.  If Laettner passes to somebody, I'm supposed to shoot it.  But we didn't lose because of defense tonight.
THE MODERATOR:  All right.  Thank you.
COACH KRZYZEWSKI:  Thank you.  Appreciate it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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