Feb. 26, 2003
Georgia Tech head coach Paul Hewitt
“Give them credit – they played extremely well tonight. One of the things you have to do when you play against a Duke team is defend the three. They came in and shot the ball extremely well. Through good ball movement, they got good looks and they knocked them down. I thought we did some decent things early in the game. The other thing you can’t do when you play these guys is turn the ball over. You can’t turn it over in the middle of the floor and let them convert to easy shot attempts. When they had that spurt in the middle of the first half that really put us back on our heels, it was a case of us not being strong with the ball. They beat us to a lot of loose balls and forced some turnovers in the middle of the floor. You give them an advantage like that, and then combine that with 11-for-17 from three, and they’re very, very difficult to beat.
“I think our ball pressure has gone down. We need to do a better job of disrupting people offensively. That being said, they were terrific tonight. It’s one thing to get 17 looks from three, and I’m not sure all of them were open looks, but knocking down 11 of them is exceptional.
“We’re struggling with confidence, but we’ve just got to stay with them. They’re doing the work we ask them to do in terms of getting up shots. Confidence is a funny thing. You lose some close games early and all of a sudden you might start to second-guess yourself. We’ve just got to stay with them. We certainly believe in them. There’s no way to get out of it except to get in the gym and keep working.
“Duke got out in the passing lanes, and I didn’t think we did a good job of reacting. We got a little timid with the ball. I was disappointed that, when they got in those passing lanes, we didn’t drive the ball at them and create back-door cuts. And they’re were a lot of loose balls that they just beat us to.”
Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski
“We feel great about the way our kids played defense tonight. Georgia Tech is a really good basketball team and they put a lot of pressure on you from each position and you have to defend each position. We tried to take away three’s tonight and that’s what really helped us. We didn’t help as much inside – I thought that Nelson was terrific – but our defense was really good and it led to opportunities for us to get out on a break and this is the best we’ve shot the ball in over a month. We had connecting plays were somebody drove and kicked out, which is why we had such a good percentage from three-point range – off of penetrate, dish, relocation – where our shooters had their feet set.”
“We are playing really well on the defensive end of the court and it put us in a position where we got that lead and we were really difficult to come back on because we weren’t giving up points very easy.”
On J.J. Redick: “The last four of six games he’s been just trying to be a shooter, and really for most of the season he’s also been a really good player and tonight he was that, even though he had kinda scary stats, I think his assists made his three pointers even better. He was just a really good player tonight and that’s something that he should be – we should be able to play off of his three point shooting.”
On Georgia Tech being an NCAA team: “They have to earn it and I don’t know what it’s going to take to earn a bid. No team’s just get waved in anymore because of who they are – they have to earn it. Paul’s team still has that opportunity certainly with the regular season games remaining and also with the tournament. I think the ACC Tournament this year will be the most wide-open it’s been in a number of years. If you go in there healthy with a great attitude, you can get a bid. They are young, but also have the capability of being very explosive.”