Cutcliffe Teleconference – Tauiliili, Lewis, Virginia Tech, UNC and more

[private]Opening statement -  We've been in the training room before going out on the practice field.  We were a beat up team going into Blacksburg and a beat up team coming out, but not emotionally.  I've never been around a more unselfish team or a team that plays any harder than this team does.  There is no finger pointing - 100% together.  I'm very saddened that our seniors qwon't get to experience a bowl game and they have one game left to play which is a big one with rival North Carolina.  We're going to pick up the pieces after a hard fought and difficult game against Virginia Tech.

On Michael Tauliliili - He's the best defensive football player in the ACC.  He continues to play at a high level every single snap.  He's a great leader off the field.  His recovers fumbles, causes fumbles, makes plays nobody else can make.  He's all over the field.  I feel he should be the ACC Defensive Player of the Year.

On Zack Asack - Obviously, his confidence is not good right now throwing the football.  He hasn't had a lot of success and didn't throw the ball well against Virginia Tech.  He has a lot of work to do, but he is capable.  We've got to help him a little bit more and he will continue to work and we will continue to evaluate Thad as the week goes on.  Zack was effective in our triple option offense.  We had tons of opportunities to make big plays but we didn't take advantage of it.  I know I can count on Zack to come to work.

On Thad's chances to play vs UNC - I'm very hopeful.  He continues to get treatments.  In fact we were here at 2:00 in the morning after the game administering treatment to a lot of players.  Thad was in here earlyy this morning - so a lot of work going on in that regard.

On his teams defensive effort and physical play against a team that's had their way in the past - We did a great job.  We thought we had a great match up.  We tackled well, we were very aggressive in coverage.  We pretty much put a lot of people in the box to slow down their running game.  We shortened the game which was the plan and going late into the fourth quarter we had a chance to win the game.

We had five take aways and that was huge, we were solid in the kicking game.  Offensively, I could not believe how many missed opportunities we had looking at the tape this morning.  Whether we called the wrong play or a snap issue or a penalty ... just unnecessary things.  We won the field position game and became a more physical team on both sides of the ball.  We not only want that  momentum to carry into the Carolina game, I want that to carry into Duke Football.

Our physicality is going to change as a team.  We were in the weight room on Sunday.  Coaches know that Duke will be physical and how we played in the past ... those days are gone.  I talked to Coach Beamer about that before the ball game and he said that they could see the difference on tape and were shocked.

These seniors are leaving the program better than they found it.   A lot more has gone on than the play on the field.[/private]

Duke climbs to 6-0 by defeating Montana in Cameron 78-58

[private]The Duke players and staff barely had time to unpack their bags after two victories in New York before taking on Montana early this afternoon in Cameron Indoor Stadium.  Duke had little problem in disposing of their opponent in route to 78-58 a victory.

Once again, Duke was bolstered by its defense and balanced offensive attack.  Four players managed double figure scoring for the fourth time in five games this season.

Leading the way was Nolan Smith and Gerald Henderson with 14 points each.  Smith has been successful at taking over the point guard role this season while "G," as he is known by teammates, is starting to assert himself.

Kyle Singler chipped in 13 points and Jon Scheyer went for 12 as Duke improved to 6-0 on the young season.

Brian Zoubek continued to get his timing back after off season surgery, having a solid effort of 8 points and 7 rebounds.

Zoubek and the Devils out rebounded the Grizzlies 42-26, holding them under 60 points for the season.  For that matter, the Blue Devils have held all of their opponents, save Rhode Island to under 60 this season.

The win gave Krzyzewski his 809th career victory and Duke won 63rd consecutive game against non conference opponents at home.

Duke looks to go 7-0 on Friday versus Duquesne in Cameron Indoor Stadium.  Make no mistake that the players and coaches alike, will take advantage of a much needed Thanksgiving break.

It's unusual for a team to play six games in November, so the break is coming at a much needed time.  Despite a day or two off, you can bet that Coach K will quickly gravitate toward game tape shortly after a feast during Holiday gatherings.

Duke has shown that they will be a team that thrives on defensive pressure first while letting its offensive chemistry develop.   All things considered, the team is right where it wants to be early - undefeated despite putting its best game on the court yet.

Note - This game was originally scheduled after Thanksgiving, but Montana could only play the game at this time.

Today's K-ments -

I think today we did a good job against a team that played really hard against us. To me, it capped off a great week for us. You play eight games in four days, and three of the days you’re in New York with not a lot of practice time. I thought our kids played hard for all four games, and they played hard again today. We were able to look at a few things today just in our substitution. There wasn’t a substitution pattern, there were things we were trying to look at as far as who was out there at this particular time instead of subbing en masse. We had 10 guys in double-figure minutes, and that was by design to take a look at a bunch of things. And we wanted to give Greg [Paulus] some recovery time, because he’s just been playing injured. Hopefully the three or four days we can give him will bring that injury along a little bit better. It’s just kind of staying there and that’s hard for him because he wants to play so badly. All of sudden now Jon [Scheyer] was handling the ball, Elliot [Williams] was on the ball and things like that, so it was good for us to take a look at those things.”


On Greg Paulus injury -

“He’s never recovered. He’s played the last three ball games hurt. You can see it, I can see it in his shot, in how he extends. It’s just not good yet. It’s a bad bruise and we had an MRI taken against yesterday just to make sure there wasn’t anything in there that we hadn’t seen, and everything they thought was still the right way. It’s part of your body that gets hit a lot in our game. I think it was a wise decision, and it was tough for him to make it because that kid wants to play all the time, but let’s hope it helps.”


On Nolan Smith -

“I just want him to keep developing. He’s got a tough position, and it wears on you mentally, not just physically, when you’re responsible for running a team. Last year he didn’t have to do this as the primary guy and all of a sudden this is the fourth game of the week and he’s going to have different people there, and Greg is not going to play for him or with him. I got on him a little bit saying ‘Remember what’s going on today’ and I thought he responded real well and had that burst scoring wise. In the second half, I just reminded him again. How do you get better mental toughness? You do it by not just practice, but you do it by going through these situations. I thought he did a good job today.”


On the freshmen’s development, especially Miles Plumlee and Elliot Williams -

“Elliot brings an enthusiasm to play. You can tell right away that he wants to be really good. That doesn’t mean the other guys don’t want to be really good, but you can see it. He showed that up in New York. I was really impressed with how Elliot played up in New York on that stage. He looked like he belonged. When I watch tape, I see some things that you don’t see. Sometimes things just jump off the screen, and his stance really jumped off the screen up in New York. He was so wide and moving so well. He can be really good. In Miles’ case, Miles has a lot of ability and I think when you’re a big guy, it’s such a huge difference from playing in high school to college. The physicality of the game, which distracts you, but he’s got a lot of ability. We just have to keep giving him minutes, and playing with Brian [Zoubek] in practice like that is good for him. And playing with Kyle and Lance, all of sudden the familiarity of playing that way will develop. He’s a kid that could really shoot up quickly once he gets more comfortable on the court.”


On Brian Zoubek's confidence -

“Brian’s primary thing was his injury. Brian’s a good basketball player. All of sudden he doesn’t have that [injury], he’s lost some weight and he’s running better. Brian runs well for a guy his size. He wears down a little bit, because you’re running a pretty big body. I’m really proud of the way Brian’s working at this thing.”


On the break -

“They’ll have Monday off and we’ll come back Tuesday to practice. I didn’t know it because we were in Maui last year that school ends on Tuesday here, so Wednesday becomes a really good day for us. Then it’s Thanksgiving, and then we play and we start another stretch until Michigan and then it’s exams. When we come back we have to look at that period from Tuesday’s practice until when we get back from Michigan as another segment. We’ve ended this segment pretty well and then we go into another one.”


Duke comes up short vs Hokies


Blacksburg, Va. -- The Duke defense forced five first half turnovers, but it wasn’t enough as the Blue Devils fell 14-3 to Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.

The Blue Devils (4-7, 1-6) had their final chance to mount a game wining scoring drive with 1:31 remaining but Zack Asack was intercepted on first down from the Duke 18 by Victor Harris who returned the interception 23 yards putting the game out of reach for Duke.

“We carried the game into the fourth quarter, had a chance to win... The thing that I want to focus on is that you will never see a football team play together better than you saw Duke today,” David Cutcliffe said. “It was an unbelievable feeling, not just today but all week long fighting back after not really playing well against Clemson.”

The Duke defense put forth a valiant effort the entire game forcing five first half turnovers and surrounding just one scoring drive to Hokies (7-4, 4-3) for the entire 60 minutes as both teams dealt with temperatures in the 20s.

Led by Vincent Rey’s 11 tackles, the Duke defense put their offense in a position to come away with points throughout the game by the Hokie defense responded every time forcing stop after stop.

Both Catron Gainey and Matt Daniels forced two turnovers each, an interception and a fumble recovery, with Gainey recording seven tackles, one for a loss and Daniels chipping in with three.

It was the second consecuative game that the Blue Devils recorded at least four sacks with Greg Akinbiyi, Vince Oghobaase, and Gainey all recording a solo sack while Michael Tauiliili and Marcus Jones combined on a sack.

Rey also had a forced fumble and a pass breakup, while Tauiliili added nine tackles, broke up three passes, assisted on a sack and recorded his third interception of the season as the Blue Devils held Virginia Tech to 334 yards of total offense.

The Blue Devils ran the ball 40 times on the day gaining 116 yards. Duke ended the day gaining 136 yards of total offense.

“I just kept hoping that we would bust a run, and boy we came close over and over and over to busting a run,” Cutcliffe said.

After a scoreless first quarter the Blue Devils notched the first points of the ball game with 14:50 left in the second quarter. Nick Maggio connected on a 39-yard field goal from the left hash to put the Blue Devils up 3-0.

The drive was set up thanks to a fumble recovery at the Virginia Tech 43-yard line by Daniels. The freshman pounced on the football for the Blue Devils second forced turnover of the game. Tyrod Taylor was credited with the fumble on the pitch to Darren Evans.

The scoring drive for the Blue Devils lasted 6-plays highlighted by a 19 yard rush by Asack, who finished the day with a career high 87 rushing yards on 24 carries.

On the ensuing Hokie possession, Daniels intercepted Taylor, who threw slightly behind Jarrett Boykin, at the Duke 37-yard line returning it nine yards to the Duke 46, but the Blue Devil offense was unable to capitalize.

On the very next play after Duke punted, Taylor fumbled the football as he took off down the field with Gainey recovering the football at the Virginia Tech 40. Rey forced the fumble on the play. After three offensive plays the Blue Devils were forced to punt once again.

Sean Glennon replaced Taylor on the next series in the second quarter faring better than his teammate as he led Virginia Tech completing 12-of-20 for 132 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Though Glennon had his struggles early throwing an interception in his second series, with Gainey coming up with the interception after Tauiliili deflected the pass as he rushed the quarterback. Duke took over at their 40, but once again were unable to turn the Hokie mistake into points.

Glennon found his grove with 3:02 remaining in the half orchestrating the Hokies on an 86yard drive that spanned 2:24 finding Jarrett Boykin on a skinny post for the 19-yard touchdown strike with 38 seconds left in the half. The touchdown would be the only one the Duke defense would surrender all game, but it was the only one the Hokies would need in the end as Duke entered the locker room at the half trailing 7-3.

Neither team’s offense could get into a grove in the second half as both defenses prevented either offense from driving the football down the field. The longest drive by either team in the second half was 27 yards, twice by Virginia Tech and once by the Blue Devils.

The interception return for a touchdown by Harris with 1:23 left sealed the victory for the Hokies , but Cutcliffe walked off the field proud of the effort his team put forth.

“This Duke team is a pretty special football team,” Cutcliffe said.


High School Hoops Edition No. 1

[private]Blue Devil Nation is the place for updated information on high school games involving Duke Commitments and recruiting targets. This season we will track the progress of, and post weekly updates on, future Blue Devils: Mason Plumlee, Ryan Kelly, Andre Dawkins, Josh Hairston, and Tyler Thornton; plus targets Harrison Barnes, Josh Smith, Brandon Knight, and John Wall.

Mason Plumlee and Christ School have opened their season with four victories. The Greenies defeated Veritas Sports Academy 87 – 58, Asheville High School 89 – 46, Blue Ridge School 76 – 61, and Porter-Gaud 73 - 50.

In the season opener, on November 15, Plumlee’s stat line against Veritas was seven points, six rebounds, four assists and three blocks. On November 18, he exploded for 28 points and 11 rebounds in the victory over Asheville.

Christ School played back-to-back games on Friday, November 21, and Saturday, November 22. Against Blue Ridge School, Plumlee scored 13 points and blocked four shots. He put up a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds against Porter-Gaud Saturday afternoon.

Christ School will return to action on December 2, against Spartanburg Day School.[/private]

Duke (5-0) vs Montana (2-1) Game Notes


•  Game 6  •

[10 AP/5 Coaches] Duke (5-0) vs. Montana (2-1)

Sunday, November 23, 2008  •  1:06 PM ET  •  FSNS/NESN

Cameron Indoor Stadium (9,314)  •  Durham, N.C.


Game Quick Facts

TV: FSNS/NESN; Mike Hogewood (play-by-play), Mike Gminski (analyst).

Radio: Duke Radio Network (flagship WDNC 620 AM in Durham); Bob Harris (play-by-play), John Roth (analyst) and Matthew Laurance (sideline).

All-time Series: Sunday’s game marks the first meeting between the two schools.


                                       Mike Krzyzewski

   Overall Record: 808-267 (34th year)

      Duke Record: 735-208 (29th year)

                                      vs. Montana: 0-0


                                            Wayne Tinkle

        Overall Record: 31-31 (third year)

     Montana Record: 31-31 (third year)


Blue Devil Bits

l Duke is 5-0 on the year, marking the 34th time in school history and the fourth straight year it has opened the season with five straight wins.

l The Blue Devils are ranked 10th in the AP poll and fifth in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll.

l The Blue Devils have been ranked in 22 consecutive AP polls.

l Duke posted wins over Presbyterian (80-49), Georgia Southern (97-54), Southern Illinois (83-58) and Michigan (71-56) en route to winning the 2008 2K Sports Classic. The Blue Devils have now won 10 of the 18 major in-season tournaments they have played in.

l Sophomore Kyle Singler was named the 2K Sports Classic Most Valuable Player after averaging 16.5 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.0 blocks per game. Singler was also named the tournament MVP at the Maui Invitational last season.

l Junior Gerald Henderson was named to the 2K Sports All-Tournament team after averaging 12.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game in four contests. He scored a season-high 20 points (all in the second half) in Duke’s semifinal win over Southern Illinois.

l Nolan Smith scored a season-high 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field and 4-of-5 from the free throw line against Michigan. He made all six field goal attempts inside the three-point arc and added five rebounds and four assists in the championship game.


Numbers Game

l Sunday’s contest marks the 800th game Duke will play as a ranked team under Mike Krzyzewski. The Blue Devils are 655-144 when ranked under Coach K.

l Duke has won 62 straight non-conference home games.

l Duke is 1-0 against teams currently in the Big Sky. The Blue Devils topped Portland State 89-39 on Dec. 30, 1997.

l The Blue Devils have won 47 straight home games in November, dating back to a 76-75 double-overtime loss to Vanderbilt on Nov. 28, 1981. Duke is 48-1 under Coach K in November home games.

l Duke is 108-16 all-time in the month of November, including a 94-10 mark under Coach K.

l The Blue Devils have won 14 straight games in November and are 45-2 in the month since 1997-98.

l Duke is 266-52 this decade, more wins than any other team in the NCAA.

l Duke has outrebounded four of its first five opponents. The Blue Devils have outrebounded the opposition by 12.2 rebounds per game, including a +3.2 edge on the offensive glass.

l Sophomore Kyle Singler is averaging 8.2 free throw attempts per game this season. He is 32-of-41 (.780) from the foul line. Last year, Singler averaged just 3.1 free throw attempts per game.

l Four Blue Devils are averaging in double figures. Kyle Singler (17.4 ppg.), Jon Scheyer (12.8), Nolan Smith (12.4) and Gerald Henderson (11.8) are each scoring 10 or more points per game.

l Duke is averaging 25.8 made free throws per game this season. The Blue Devils have made 38 more free throws than their opponents have attempted.

l The Blue Devils scored 54 points in the second half against Southern Illinois for their largest scoring output in a half this season. Duke was 12-of-23 (.522) from the field, including 5-of-9 (.556) from three-point range, over the final 20 minutes of play.

l Lance Thomas has made nine of his last 10 free throws after opening the season 3-of-13 (.231) from the foul line.

l Kyle Singler has led Duke in assists in each of the last three games. During that stretch he has 12 of his team-high 16 assists.

l Duke has outrebounded the opposition in four of five games this season. The Blue Devils have grabbed 40 or more rebounds in a game four times.

l The Blue Devils have limited four of its first five opponents under 60 points. Duke is allowing just 59.2 points per game this season.


Blue Devils go to 5-0 by defeating Michigan

[private]The Duke Men's Basketball team went to 5-0 on the young season defeating Michigan 71-56 to win the 2K Coaches for Cancer Classic.  Michigan an upstart winner over #4 UCLA struggled against the Devils vaunted man to man defense.

Duke held the Wolverines to 35% from the field and shut down the majority of their scorers in the process.  Duke travels to Ann Arbor on December 6th for a rematch.

Duke was led in scoring by Nolan Smith (16 points, 4 assists, 5 rebounds) and Kyle Singler (15 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists). 

Singler was named the tournaments Most Valuable Player after his well rounded performances. 

“Kyle is one of the best players in the country and knows how and wants to play defense. With his length, throughout his career when he is a pro player, he will be playing out in the perimeter all of the time.  We like to use our guys in that manner," stated Krzyzewski.

Duke was once  aided by free throw shooting, going to the line 25 times while making 19 of them.

While the victory wasn't always a pretty win on the eyes, the defensive efforts was text book.  One must remember that the ideal time for a team to blossom is March and not November.

Duke is still a team searching for the right chemistry and in doing so they will play several lineups and styles.  Last evening it appeared that Duke chose not to push the ball up the floor and worked more on their half court sets.

There were several positives coming from New York besides the victory.  The continued improvement of Brian Zoubek was huge and if this continues it will no doubt make Duke a stronger team this season.

The two games also allowed talented junior Gerald Henderson to assert himself.  His play landed him on the all tournament team.

Duke has a brief moment of rest before rolling back into Cameron Indoor Stadium for a 1:00 game with Montana.  The game as always will be televised - this time on FSN-South or NESN.[/private]