Tag Archives: Duke-Georgia Tech

Duke is off to a 3-0 start in the ACC thanks to it’s defense

Duke managed to put away Georgia Tech last evening 70-56 to go to 3-0 in the young ACC season despite struggling from the field offensively.   With a loaded schedule that includes Clemson, North

Duke got off to a 3-0 start in the ACC for the 14th time in the Krzyzewski era
Duke got off to a 3-0 start in the ACC for the 14th time in the Krzyzewski era

Carolina and Wake Forest twice, each win is important and you can bet that Coach K has his team trying to avoid a letdown.

While Krzyzewski will not allow his team to look too far ahead, with a big national showdown against Georgetown looming this Saturday, perhaps it couldn't help but be in the back of the players minds.  That thought likely went away after tip off against Tech in that Duke found themselves down eight early in a night where it seemed they couldn't throw the ball in the ocean in the first fifteen minutes of play.

On a night where the Blue Devils got little production from the center or anchor position, Duke depended on it's big three stars in Kyle Singler, Jon Scheyer and Gerald Henderson.  Coach K let it be known to voice of the Blue Devils Bob Harris in the post game radio show that he was not too happy with the fact that Zoubek and Thomas managed 4 points, 6 rebounds and 8 fouls.

It's vital that Thomas and Zoubek reassert themselves with a Georgetown team coming in that handled #8 Syracuse easily at home on Wednesday.  That team features former Duke prospect Greg Monroe, a freshman sensation that can pass or dish assists with the best of them, not to mention control the paint.

Kyle Singler found himself having to play much of last evenings game down low and he certainly produced against the Jackets, going for 19 points and 14 rebounds.  The thing is that he was forced to play almost the entire game and should that continue there is a possibility he'll wear down as the season progresses.

Jon Scheyer has had two miserable shooting games from the field, but he always finds ways to help with his court savvy.  He struggled with his shot early but always plays a great floor game on a consistent basis.  Last evening was no different, where he tallied 14 points and led his team in assists with 5 and grabbed 5 boards for good measure.

While Greg Paulus gave Duke a much needed lift in scoring eight points off the bench, he failed to hand out one assist.  That is not necessarily his role this season, but with Nolan Smith having an off night offensively and dishing just one assist, distribution has to be an area of concern at the moment for the Devils.

Quite simply, Duke needs two positions to be more productive on a consistent basis to continue to flourish as they have early, earning the #2 ranking in college hoops.

Despite the aforementioned concerns, Duke finds ways to win and more often than not it is with their defense.  Krzyzewski has his team playing at a very high level defensively and so far this season, they have held three conference opponents to around 53 ppg.

Another vital part of the team pushing their record to 15-1 is the play of Gerald Henderson.  "G" has adjusted as the season has gone along and has been very consistent of late.  Henderson can do things other players can't with his athleticism and versatility.  A well rounded performance against the Jackets was what the doctor ordered.  His final stat line was 19 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists.

One has to be impressed with the results so far this season.  On a night when Duke struggled with their shooting from the field and the free throw stripe they managed a win.  If this teams offense becomes more consistent, they'll be a load for whomever they face the rest of the way.

Coach K post game comments, courtesy of Duke Sports Information -

Opening Comment:

"We won a hard-fought game tonight. We knew coming in that Georgia Tech, for the first time this season, was close to being 100 percent. They didn't start the year with Clinch, then Miller was sick, and then Peacock was sick the last game, but they had everyone tonight. Obviously those guys will still get in better shape. As a result they can hit you with different lineups now. They can start that big lineup and they can bring Miller in, and you have Shumpert, Clinch and Miller with Peacock and Lawal - they are a good team, tough to score against. I thought our defense helped win the game for us. We played very well, defensively, in the second half. I thought we played the last 10 minutes of the first half well defensively but they kind of knocked us back and we didn't do what we wanted to do on the top ball screen. And they executed well. They are a very big team. Kyle [Singler] came up with some huge plays for us, especially on the defensive boards. And then G had a really good second half offensively. Both teams had trouble scoring because we are both pretty good defensive teams. We got a big boost in the first half from Paulus and Marty [Pocius]. Greg and Marty gave us a big boost, and then Dave [McClure] was terrific in the second half, defensively. He had two big blocks and was a heck of a defensive player. And we needed that. It was hard fought, and a good win for us. Hooray for me, I'm happy. When you win a game like this, it's not an easy game. They are good."

Comment on rebounding:

"Yeah, we had a couple more. But that fact that we weren't hit hard, a lot of it had to do with Kyle. Kyle had 14 rebounds. All of a sudden on some of those misses, you saw Kyle with two hands coming up and that gives you a possession. Neither team scored quickly, so when you got a possession it meant a little bit more in this game. Dave came up - his blocks were the main thing. And then trying to stay in front of Lawal was huge. Our post defense was a lot better in the second half."

Comment on Gerald Henderson coming up big in the second half:

"He's a good player, first of all. Their defense was taking away the drive. They were really playing like zoning up, and we ended up just kind of pounding the ball in the floor. I told him to either shoot it or pass it - don't just keep dribbling it. He wants to beat you, he's a good player. In the second half our offense had a little bit more movement and we put him in a couple different places so he could do it. He lost it a couple of times, but we went to both him and Kyle. We tried to run a bunch of things through those two kids."

Comment on big men going over top of the screens:

"I thought Kyle, in particular, defended that well. We're a very good defensive team. In the first half, we did not do that well. We started switching, and then our little guy went down, instead of the big guy staying and the little guy staying up on top, which is what we practiced. I felt like the father that tells their kid, and they say that they never heard you. Well I said it, I said it a bunch - I even called a timeout. In fact, you're even IN timeout right now. But that's what happens, and to our kids' credit, they got it straight after a while."

Comment on the league:

"I think our league is the best it's been for a long time. We've got four teams in the top-10. We just played Tech and Florida State, and they can play anybody that we've played. Our league is the best league. The fact that we have 12 teams shouldn't be discriminated against. Believe me, we don't want more - I don't want more. But we have a hell of a league. It's an older league and a bigger league. We have some big teams in our league - Tech and Florida State are two of the biggest teams in the country when you put those lineups out. We've been No. 1 in the RPI, We have had the best non-conference. I've always been a cheerleader for the ACC, but this year, even more because we have a lot of good teams. And always in the league, there are always two things that bring around the differential: an injury and close losses."

Comment on strategy on defending Lawal:

"We wanted to pressure the passer. I think we were the first team this year that pressured the high post instead of dropping off. We tried to stay where we were between him and the ball. Ball pressure is key - we wanted to pressure the passer (because) the passer can see more. But he's good. He's gotten really strong, and you can tell that kid's really worked. I don't think anybody that I've seen yet, and I know I haven't seen everybody, but I don't think anyone runs the floor quicker than Lawal. He goes from the defensive end to the offensive end real fast. He's a big time player and competitor.

Cutcliffe opens up about defeating UVA, Duke freshman and Georgia Tech

[private]Here is today's question and answer session with Coach David Cutcliffe -

Opening statement -

I want to first say that looking at the tape, it's good to win 31-3 with so many things that we can do better.  We rushed offensively, our execution wasn't near what it had been.  Obviously, I didn't do a good enough job keeping us oiled up during the open date.  Defensively, a little slow starting, but in the second quarter we started playing as good as we could have.  We're glad to get the win and it was certainly big for our seniors.  I wish you could have seen those young men in the locker room.  I've already had a team meeting this afternoon and we will shortly be going out on the field to work on Georgia Tech

(BDN) Coach, Michael Tauiliili had a career high 16 tackles, a forced fumble and an interception,  Can you talk a little about his game?

I certainly can.  He had the interception of course and the fumble recovery, but he's been playing like that all season.  He's had a tremendous start to the season.  He's about 25 pounds lighter than he was a year ago and had certainly proved he's game ... playing at a much faster pace.  He's become a much better tackler.  Mike is one of our captains and I think he's probably grown as much as anybody on our team to this point.  I think he's playing like an All American linebacker.

(Go Duke) After playing some special teams the first few games, you got Butler and Daniels in the rotation in the secondary.  Can you talk about the two.  I assume we will be seeing a lot more of them?

Absolutely you will see more of them.  I challenged both of them during the open date to pick it up.  Meaning assignments, techniques, consistency.  It's hard to put a young guy in the secondary.  It's hard to put a guy anywhere if you don't trust them.  They're both really good prospects.  You saw them.  If you've watched us at all you saw them make plays in the special teams area.  Lee and Matt are going to be playing much more over the rest of the season and they will both be really fine football players.

(N & O)  Following up an Lee and Matt - what is it about them physically?  Where are they at this point?

Well they're both extremely fast.  As fast if not faster than anybody we have on our team.  Now days we have freshman come in in the summer.  They are really good athletes, their bodys have responed really well in weight training and conditioning.

(Chronicle)  I don't know if you know yet, but you got a vote in the coaches poll.  I was wondering, does that mean anything?

Well, I didn't know.  Depending upon who made the vote (laughing).  It might be a good friend, or it could be Coach Spurrier again.  All that is short lived if you don't win.  All we are concerned about is becoming a better football team.

(BDN)  Coach, back to freshman a second.  Can you talk a little bit about how Jay Hollingsworth has developed?

Jay took a huge step in this last game.  He's slowly getting there too.  He's another one of those guys with his body  just responding.  He's actually got a little sore hamstring and was able to work through it, which impressed me.  A lot of youngsters can't do that and he's a tough kid, he has great body lean.  If he will continue to work he will be a really fine player.  He has a nice natural body lean and vision - catches the ball real well out of the backfield.  He's going to get a lot of touches over the years.

(NY Times) We are doing a theme on how volatile this weekend was in college football.  You've obviously taken Duke and lifted them up significantly so far.  Can you talk of the line between winning and losing in college football and how chaotic it'll probably be?

I feel sorry for people that take pride in picking winners and have this high percentage.  It's going to be very difficult.  It's a lot of programs like ourselves and there are teams who aren't  your perennial power houses that have made an effort to attract a better player.  And the other part is that a lot of us are doing a much better job of developing talent.  There's a combination of things.  We're a good football team right now.  I would say we are near being a great football team, but we have a good team, which means it could go either way for us every week.  We have to play our best to have a chance to win.  It's going to be harder for teams to put up double digit wins in the future.

(Herald Sun)  Does it help in a kind of backwards way that the team is bringing consistency, that they haven't had in the past?

Well, I think it makes you hungrier.  I would hope we maintain that hunger.  Hey, listen!  We should be hungry enough .. we need a ten or fifteen year stretch of devouring food - we should be so hungry for success.  So, hopefully we'll manage that.  I'm not literally talking about food, you guys know that.

(NY Times) I just wanted to ask - do you have a sense of where you stand in the ACC?  You haven't been through this for a year yet, so there is a lot of newness to it.  But do you know where you stand and do you think Georgia Tech will give you a better answer?

That's a program that has been to eleven straight bowls and they obviously have good players on the field.  They have been successful this particular season.   I haven't played a road game yet.  It's hard to tell where we stand.  From me evaluatiing our team, we've got a long way to go to get to where we want to be.  What we are trying to do is get to where we can at least be competitive and when the game's over feel like we've played well.

(Herald Sun) Do you pay any attention to Navy beating Wake Forest or Northwestern is undefeated?

No, not really but Northwestern should be 4-1, but they are 5-0.  Injuries can change teams, so usually comparative scores in my experience never work.

(BDN)  You've outscored your opponents 76-14 in the second half in each of the first four games.  Is there a recipe for that?

I think it's conditioning.  I also think it's our staff.  We're in systems that we've been in for a long time and we hope we know how to fix some problems at halftime.  I think our staff does a tremendous job of that on both side of the ball and the kicking game.  So, when you are in themes and you are not grab bagging and you believe in the system ... we've really done a nice job of that and I think our players truly are fresh in the second half.  They look forward to it, they really do.  When we are running they're always hollering we want more ... I think it's a ploy to get me to stop, but I think they can go more,  We've shown them you can push yourself beyond what you thought you could.

(AJC) Coach Johnson has kind of developed a reputation down here of gambling on fourth down going for it fourth and three up 14-0 and scoring a touchdown on the play.  When you go against a coach like that who is known as more of a gambler, does that effect your schemes and how you prepare for them?

It effects us because they think they're in four down territory all the time because the style of their offense.  In our study of Navy in the spring and summer - they go for it all the time.  You have to be ready to make fourth down calls on defense every possession.  Their percentage of making them is very high.  So, I don't know if he is gambling as much as he is just confident in what his offense is going to do.

(AJC) Will it help that you've played Navy?

I think it goes both ways.  They have better athletes than Navy.  But they can see us against their offense, so we have got to tweak some things and do some things differently - so there is a little bit of cat and mouse going on.[/private]