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NCAA MEN'S 2ND & 3RD ROUNDS: RALEIGH


March 21, 2014


Quinn Cook

Mike Krzyzewski

Tyler Thornton


RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA

Mercer 78
Duke 71


MODERATOR: We're now ready to begin the Duke press conference. Coach, could you give us an opening statement, please?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Yeah, first of all, congratulations to Mercer. They're not just a good team; they're an outstanding team. So well coached. You can tell those guys that played a lot of basketball together, and Hall leads them so well. Gollon, I thought, gave them such good spirit, such great spirit. And Coursey, Coursey's just a good big man. They're really a good basketball team. We knew that coming in.
We couldn't get anything inside against them. And I'm disappointed for our team because I thought our‑‑ it wasn't easy, like Hood and Parker did not have easy games tonight and our backcourt, our guys played their hearts out and so did those two kids. And we showed our youth. I thought. You know, we got that 65‑60 lead and they showed their veteran, their maturity during that time, and we needed to knock down another shot and we got one really good shot then, but didn't knock it down. And they just played really well throughout, but especially down the stretch. And again, proud of my team. Obviously, very disappointed with the loss and again, congratulations to Mercer.
MODERATOR: At this time, we'll open the floor for questions for student‑athletes. Questions for student‑athletes only. Are there any questions?

Q. For either of the players, Coach mentioned you guys went up five and they went on a run. When you're out there, what did you sense that they sort of had at that moment that you guys didn't?
TYLER THORNTON: They were very confident. They didn't panic. They were very poised and they just stuck with their game plan on both ends of the floor during that period.

Q. What did they do or have that surprised you live than on film? What did they do better?
QUINN COOK: They stayed together all 40 minutes. It was a game of runs and both teams made runs and they stayed together. And when we went up 65‑60, they could have easily splintered, but like coach said, their leadership stepped up and they're a veteran team and they play together. So all credit to those guys.
MODERATOR: We'll now open the floor up for questions for the coach.

Q. Mike, specifically what did they do to be able to keep you from the inside?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Well, they're men. They're strong. They're‑‑ the tournament sometimes places you in a position where you have a younger team than the team you're playing against. Not just younger in age, but in physical maturity. They're a strong team. And he's a heck of a coach. And our inside guys were young at times. I mean, they just, you know, they‑‑ they're just young. I mean, we've gone through that all year and these kids have had a terrific year.
Those swings that we have sometimes produced losses and today, they produced a loss. The kid, White, hit a huge‑‑ that 3 that he had was probably‑‑ the 3 that tied the game was the biggest shot of the game, I thought, because we played really good defense on that, and they showed the maturity that they have where they, all of a sudden, they can look at all their options, and he was it. And it was not a close end shot. It was a long shot and was right in. And that was a big, big‑time shot by that kid.

Q. Mike, you've mentioned before the uniqueness of this team, unlike any team you've ever had before, maybe. How hard was it to coach this team this year and can you assess this season?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: I think we had a very good year. We're a very unconventional team this year, in that the only time we had an inside presence is if Jabari was really strong inside and he did that a lot. But that's not really what he does. That's not his strength. And so we're always not real strong inside. I mean, warming up when we went for a jump ball, you can see that usually another team was bigger than we were. And we tried to counteract that by, you know, different things we did offensively and defensively. And overall, it was‑‑ excuse me, it worked well. It didn't work well enough today. And just didn't work well enough today. But we're all‑‑ we're always‑‑ we're not that‑‑ as I've said all year, we're not that good, but we can beat a lot of people, but we can be beaten by people and when I say anybody, Mercer's not anybody. Mercer is a championship team. Mercer's a team that probably should have been in the tournament last year. They return everybody and those kids, they're not kids, those men are determined to do something. Their fan base, in a lot of respects, it's very‑‑ it's beautiful to see. I applaud them and applaud the fans for what they've done this year. And they'll be tough to beat going forward. I think. We knew, look, there's no way we overlooked anybody. We had the utmost respect for this basketball team, and should and obviously, we'll continue to have, because they beat us.

Q. Mike, you mentioned yesterday this was the first time in a long time your two primary guys were new guys. Did you have any‑‑ is there any immediate takeaways for how, if you do this again next year or any other year?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: I'd have to know what team I have or, I mean, you know, I don't know what team I'll have next year. So I mean, it's obvious that those two kids did not have good games today. But they've been great players for us. And for us to win, for us to win, they have to have good games.
Now, that just happens. It happened and it happened at a time where when they have it, then it's over, and that's the‑‑ you know, that's sad for us. You know, it's sad for them. I feel badly for them because they've been two outstanding players for us, but they're 6 for 24 in the game. We're not going to win‑‑ we're not going to win a lot of games where those kids are like that and we've won a lot of games where they've been terrific and I've loved coaching them and I feel bad for them, because you have‑‑ we all have to live with that.

Q. Mike, if I'm doing the math correctly, 15 of 37 on 3‑pointers is pretty good offense. The number 37, is that just about what you would have wanted going in?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: No, we didn't know what we would want. We never know exactly what we want from our group because we're a little bit unpredictable because of the youth and, I mean, we would have rather had, you know, Jabari and Rodney getting 20 apiece. And no threes from them. You know, but that didn't‑‑ it didn't‑‑ you know, it didn't work out that way.
So really, I mean, Quinn and Rasheed, I mean, Quinn had a great game. And Rasheed hit big buckets. You know, look, our guys tried. I have no fault with my team.
Sometimes, the other team has just played better and you don't play as well. We didn't. They made us look that way but also we just didn't play‑‑ we didn't get that from our two best guys. God love 'em. I feel bad for them. I feel bad for them.

Q. Kind of piggybacking off of that, Coach, do you feel like there have been times during the season where you've preached to Jabari in particular to be aggressive and go to the hole rather than settling for jump shots? Do you feel like maybe the early on, Mercer's ability to clog the lane made you guys drift out farther?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: I don't know exactly. Jabari's a freshman. I thought what they were doing offensively, he had a tough matchup with Gollon. Gollon is not your conventional four. With him in the game, they have four perimeter guys. As a sixth‑year guy, he has a spirit and a will and movement like he's‑‑ I thought he played a great game and moved Jabari around a lot. And when you do that, you can get beaten. You can get beaten, and we did.
So look, Jabari's had a great, great year. It's a frustrating way for him to end it today.
MODERATOR: Any other questions?
COACH KRZYZEWSKI: Again, I want to wish Mercer the very best. I love the game and when the game's played really well, I hope it's us that's playing it. But when it's the other team, you applaud it. I applaud Mercer and they were absolutely terrific today. And thank you for a great season, being with us.
MODERATOR: Thank you, coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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