Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski:
“It was a great game. This is the best team we’ve played as far as they know what they’re doing, and they do it well. For us to be fortunate enough to win this game is a big win for us. I think both teams played excellent defense. You can’t take everything away from everybody. We tried to limit their three-point looks, and it opened up for some drives inside. We were hoping we could limit that, and we did. That was a big part of this game -- the defense of the three.
“I thought Shelden (Williams) had a fabulous game. I know he broke Mike Gminski’s record for career blocked shots tonight, but he was a force inside. The play vs. Simmons right towards the end of the game was huge. For him to have that energy and be out there like that, that was one of the plays of the game, really. But Shelden also had five steals.
“I’m proud of Sean Dockery too because on Monday we didn’t know if Sean was going to be able to play. He hurt his foot, and we were a little bit worried that it was going to be serious. It wasn’t as serious, but he played hurt tonight, and you wouldn’t know it. We don’t like to publicize our injuries, but once it’s done, I want to give a purple heart for it -- a basketball purple heart, let’s not confuse the two.
“J.J. Redick was J.J., which is great. In the second half, what we did is not run as many plays. I told him at halftime, ‘Just run motion offense. Play basketball and have some fun.’ Some of the things that are being written are just overdone about our team, and that’s the world they live in. Are they going to go undefeated? Are they going to do this? We’re starting Lee Melchionni and Sean Dockery. You didn’t even say that when we had Bobby Hurley, Christian Laettner and Grant Hill, so it’s just extreme. It doesn’t represent who we are, but we deal with it. You write whatever you want, but I think sometimes our kids play to that. They didn’t have good looks on their faces. There’s a lot of pressure on them, so that’s why I told them, ‘Just have fun and play. The outcome of this game will be determined on how well we have fun in the second half.’ And we did. The crowd was great -- of course they had a number of great plays to respond to. Greg Paulus came up with some great loose balls. I’m proud of my guys. This is a hell of a win for us.”
On back-to-back three-pointers by Dockery and Melchionni when the score was tied at 65:
“They were huge. We were just playing then, and all of a sudden they got it out of a kick -- a penetration and kick -- so instinctively they did it, and their instincts are good. They’re good players. Sometimes when we’re running a play or some sets, they end up watching J.J. or Shelden, and then when they get a kick on that, they’re not instinctive, and that’s what was happening. (N.C. State) does a great job. They anticipated our plays, and they were overplaying different things, and our counters were not working against them, so those two plays were huge.”
On importance of senior leadership:
“Not just in this game, but in this time of the year. [N.C. State] has it. There’s no question that they have it, and we showed it tonight outside of J.J. and Shelden. Sean and Lee looked like they were veterans tonight, and we’re going to need that. They’re going to get open looks. You have two players like Shelden and J.J., you’re going to get open looks, and they knocked them down. When I was asked before about 65-65, it’s not J.J. and Shelden hitting them. For those guys to step up and do that is great.”
On limiting N.C. State’s points in final minutes:
“We tried to switch more, and I thought Lee ratting around in full court, where they didn’t get many runs up. They had to dribble it up, so our defense was set as a result of that. A couple of times we overran a guy trying to put pressure, and they’d get a run. You can’t let them have runs like that, and Lee played off of their second big, making sure that the kid didn’t just dribble it by him. Lee played a really heady game.”
On Sean Dockery making more loose-ball plays:
“Since DeMarcus’ injury, and once Sean became comfortable in his role, Sean’s made a lot of plays like that. Greg Paulus is doing that too. Our two guards really chased down a few balls, and two of the times they chased them down, we got threes. That’s six points. Greg chased down his missed free throw and knocked it out to Lee in the first half. That shows that they’re into the game. I’m proud of Sean. He played with a lot of courage tonight.”
On Redick’s passing:
“He had six assists tonight, and they were out of doubles. There’s no question, he’s just a great player. He’s a great, great player. There’s really not an aspect of the game he’s weak in right now. He can play defense. Obviously he’s one of the best competitors to play here. When they were trapping him or doubling him, and he had the presence of mind to break it, that’s how we got a couple of looks. When you’re guy can do that, it’s a heck of a thing. He’s not 6-8 or whatever, so he’s got to be smart and tough. He didn’t miss any free throws either.”