Duke men's basketball players Jordan Goldwire and Wendell Moore Jr, addressed the media today before tomorrow's game versus Notre Dame. Here is what they had to say -
JUNIOR GUARD JORDAN GOLDWIRE
On coming off two big wins before Notre Dame: “We have to come out and play hard like we did the last two games and try to get off to a good start. They [Notre Dame] are a very good team so we have to be ready to play.”
On the importance of the rest this week: “We played back-to-back games within 48 hours so to get the rest was very important for us. We’re all feeling rejuvenated and ready to play tomorrow.”
On Notre Dame: “They are very well coached. They don’t turn the ball over a lot and they take a good amount of threes. They have good bigs and good guards … they are a good team.”
FRESHMAN FORWARD WENDELL MOORE JR.
On coming off two big wins before Notre Dame: “We have to come in with the same mentality as the last two games. We had a good start against Florida State. We came out with intensity as a team and came ready to play.”
On the importance of rest this week: “We’re all ready for this game tomorrow. Coach has done a fantastic job getting us ready. Notre Dame is a really good team and is experienced. We have to come in and match them.”
On the ending of the North Carolina game and how it could propel the team the rest of the season: “Coming back was an unreal experience. The whole 48 hours could be one that some teams could take very differently than we did. Our four leaders and Coach did a really good job at getting us to move on to the next game. Really that’s what we need to do now … move on from last week and I’m looking forward to that tomorrow.”
The 21-3 Duke Blue Devils seem to be flying under the medias radar despite a six-game winning streak. Perhaps it is the fact that the seventh-ranked Blue Devils have not risen in the polls going on four weeks. Whatever the case, Duke is coming off stellar wins over North Carolina and Florida State which capped off a grand week.
The Blue Devils got some much-needed rest after a barrage of games but now they must put the high from that behind them for new challenges. The first of those will come this Saturday at 4:00 in Cameron Indoor Stadium against Notre Dame.
While it is true that Duke will be favored over the Irish what cannot be measured is the added desire teams left on the schedule have trying to collect an NCAA tournament bid. And Duke must find a way to match their oppositions hunger or upsets will occur.
The staff never looks ahead but a hungry N.C. State team is on the horizon as well. The Blue Devils, which play the Pack twice in twelve days travel to Raleigh next week for a game with the dreaded 9:00 tip-off time. The Wolfpack like the Irish will be hungry and looking for a marquee win and they always play Duke tough.
Duke will be the hunted as they embark on the challenge of closing the regular season on a high note. The Blue Devils who are currently in sole possession of 2nd place in the ACC have just seven games left on their pre-tournament schedule.
Of the games left, only Wake Forest and North Carolina are more or less out of contention for an NCAA bid. But the Demon Deacons are a road game and they just walloped North Carolina at home. Duke will also travel to Virginia and the defending national champs will be a challenge.
Duke will close out the season with two home games versus Triangle area rivals N.C. State and North Carolina. And we all know, anything can happen in a rivalry game. But the game with the Tar Heels will be senior-day for Jack White, Javin DeLaurier and Justin Robinson and I think that'll be a difference-maker.
Here is the schedule to close the season with the home games in bold -
Well, the latest game in the Duke-UNC rivalry did not disappoint. Media and fans alike are still reeling from the overtime classic. Wendell Moore Jr. and Tre Jones will always be remembered from their late-game plays and the game will live on in the much-ballyhooed lore. People are still talking about this game but for the first time in regular season history, Duke had a single day to reflect and prepare for the nation's 8th ranked team tonight in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
FSU is a different beast
The Seminoles are a very deep basketball team that will throw players at you in droves. This makes for a tireless team that is very hard to prepare for. While there may not be an All ACC player on the Noles roster, their coach, Leonard Hamilton has his deep team playing on the same page with one another.
Florida State makes it hard to figure out which players to concentrate on. And that means Duke must maintain a high level of defense no matter who is on the floor. The Seminoles bring their 10-2 ACC mark and 20-3 overall record into the game which is the exact record of the Blue Devils.
The Seminoles will play with a chip on their shoulder. They are one of the ACC's most consistent programs but they rarely get the hype they deserve. Vegas has labeled Duke an 8 point favorite which seems high considering how these games have gone in the past and that Duke is coming off their most emotional rivalry.
"We have played a lot of tough games on the road and in order to prepare for those road games, you have to come up with an approach that's realistic. What we try to teach our guys is to stay in the moment," said Leonard Hamilton after his team whipped Miami this past Saturday.
As big of rivalry game as the Duke-UNC game was, the Blue Devils are in a heavyweight fight tonight against the Seminoles. These are two teams that deserve their ranking and both have been playing solid basketball.
Duke will be fighting the distraction of people still wanting to sponge the aftermath of the win over UNC. It will be interesting to see if they can take care of business.
What is up for grabs here is the sole possession of second place in the league. Duke will need every player to step up tonight to come away with a win.
It is hard to say how this game will play out. Both teams are coming off hight scoring performances and we could have a game like that. But Florida State is comfortable in defensive battles as well. They can be a very patient team in grinder games and that means each possession is vital.
Duke may be a bit leg weary in this game but they will have five days off before taking on Notre Dame on Saturday. So expect them to go all out in this one.
Rankings, seedings and other stuff
Duke was labeled a two seed in the latest tournament projections. This is a year when there will be lots of upsets in that the difference in the top 24 seeds is minimal in some cases. The new polls come out around noon and Duke will stay at #7 unless they overtake Dayton in the coaches poll where they are close to doing so via voting. After looking at the schedule of contenders I told you three weeks ago that Duke would be stuck in the 7th or 8th spot nationally for a bit in that other teams had no games where upsets were possible.
Tonight's game with Florida State means the winner remains firmly in the top 7 and likely higher. Duke is playing for a local seed in the NCAA tournament where Greensboro is the first-round site. Staying in Greensboro for two consecutive weekends including the ACC tournament is much desired.
Duke is pretty much a lock for a top four seed in the fast-approaching ACC Tournament which means a double-bye. And many are happy that the tournament has returned to Greensboro, N.C. which many consider the best venue.
Do you care to look ahead? Selection Sunday will be held on March 15th. The Final Four is in Atlanta, Ga, is slated for April 4th - 6th. The Greensboro region will be Friday/Sunday from March 20th to the 22nd.
Blue Devil Bits
The Blue Devils are the nation's second highest-scoring offense in the NCAA at 83.1 ppg.
Duke is 40-10 all-time vs Florida State, and they hold a 21-2 edge at home.
Duke and FSU have been ranked in the last six games of the series.
This is the 55th season Duke has won 20 games.
49 - the number of top 10 A.P. matchups in Cameron includes FSU
34 - the number of days before the NCAA Tournament Selection Sunday.
29 - the number of days before the ACC Tournament.
You cannot talk about the thrilling Duke overtime win over North Carolina without mentioning Tre Jones -- a lot. I mean, Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski, Wendel Moore Jr., and Cassius Stanley all lauded his play in the post-game presser and they did so for good reasons.
Jones was dominant down the stretch doing everything one could ask of the teams leader. His exploits to get Duke into overtime and then help his team pull out the win will live forever in Duke-UNC rivalry lore.
His teammates praised his positive attitude when all hope looked dire before Duke made a miraculous comeback. Tre finished the game with 28 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals, and the W.
Perhaps, his teammate Wendell Moore said it best, “It all started with Tre [Jones]. Tre had that look in his eye. When he had that look, we knew that we could follow him to victory. He led us there today.”
On his last shot of the overtime which he missed -
I missed and Wendell [Moore] pursued it. He got down low and was able to tip it out to Jordan Goldwire and saved the ball to me. I went up with a look and again, Wendell pursued it like he was doing a game and he got that huge basket.
On if he thought the team stole the victory -
No. Not at all. I feel like we earned this one. Things were not always going our way necessarily bt we continued to just ground it out. We never gave up and I think we earned and came out with the win.
What were you thinking when you got the ball in that situation?
Just get the shot off in time.
On the missed free throw... is that something you practice?
It is something I practice, yeah. Me and Scheyer [Jon, Duke Assistant Coach] actually talked about that in practice together. At the time it wasn't really serious but it helped tonight.
Duke center Vernon Carey Jr. fouled out of his first Duke-UNC game, but he leaned on his teammates for the win. Carey praised his teammates and the perimeter pay down the stretch which enabled Duke to come away with a 98-96 overtime win in Chape Hill.
Wow! What are your initial thoughts on the game -
The last ten minutes of the game in regulation, our guards and perimeter stepped up big time. Tre stepped up big time, I mean everyone stepped up big time defensively down the stretch.
On his thoughts when he went out of the game with his 5th foul-
I was frustrated obviously but just had to trust my teammates.
What does this kind of a win do for the team?
It brings us closer together. We're even closer now as a team.
It is hard to believe but you have got to put this game to bed quickly with Florida State coming on Monday night...
Yeah. Coach [Krzyzewski] said to just enjoy it tonight and that we would have to prepare for FSU tomorrow and practice, so that is what we will do,
The Duke Blue Devils came away with a thrilling 98-96 overtime win over North Carolina in Chapel Hill early Saturday evening. Wendell Moore collected Tre Jones missed shot and rebounded the ball and put in a deuce before time ran out.
"It was an absolutely incredible game. To have an incredible game means yo have great performances by both teams and Carolina was outstanding, said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski.
The Blue Devils were led in scoring by Tre Jones who scored 28 points with 6 assists and 3 steals. He was all over the place in the second half leading his team to a win. He earned the praise of Mike Krzyzewski saying he remained positive during moments of adversity and that helped to energize his teammates.
Jones had to miss a second free throw to help put the game into overtime and he did so as if he practices it all the time. "We talk about," said Krzyzewski. He continued, "Tre made not a good play, he made a great play, that was an amazing play."
Before the game, the UNC students cheered that Tre Jones was overrated. By night's end, everyone in the Dean Dome saw him a first-team All ACC lock.
The player who hit the winning shot, Wendell Moore Jr. grew up a lot from the experience. He ended the game with a double-double of17 points and a team-high 10 rebounds, and that last board to get to ten was a memorable one, as was his composure to sink the game winner.
Duke was set to cut into the North Carolina lead coming from ten back in the first half but a Joey Baker missed dunk seemed to sway the momentum back in the Tar Heels favor. By the time the teams headed to the locker room, the Tar Heels were shooting 60% from the field which allowed for a 9 point lead at the break.
In a year where the Tar Heels had struggled, players who had not been having banner seasons suddenly gained their confidence. Instead of going off recent scouting reports, Duke may have been better off studying the pre-season prognosis where the Tar Heels were ranked in the top ten.
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski had preached rebonding and not underestimating your opponent but it was not working at the break. The Tar Heels held 22-14 edge on the board at the half.
The eventual comeback did not seem evident to start the 2nd half. Vernon Carey would foul out of the game with 18 points and then Cassius Stanley went out and there went his 22 points to the sideline. But on this night, Duke would show resilience and the final result would mean a win on the Duke Blue side. And, yes, this game was another instant classic in the Duke-UNC series.
The Blue Devils celebrated as they made their way back to the locker room but that celebration will be cut shorter than usual, The reason is that Florida State comes into Cameron on Monday.
The win pushed the Blue Devils season record to 20-3 and 10-2 in the ACC. The victory over North Carolina also means Duke has a chance to move into sole possession of 2nd place in the league.
In closing, it was an uplifting emotional win for Duke over North Carolina. And yo have to prop the Tar Heels for their best effort of the year and making Duke better moving forward.
Stay tuned for more player and coach comments from Blue Devil Nation.