Tag Archives: Kyrie Irving

Duke standout Kyrie Irving makes his New Jersey return

Kyrie breaking legs - Lance King for BDN

Back in the building where he won a New Jersey State Championship as a junior for the St. Patrick's Celtics and about a thirty minute drive from his hometown of West Orange, NJ, Kyrie Irving didn't waste an opportunity to help Duke achieve a decisive 82-70 win over last season's national title runner-up, Butler University.

Among his seventeen second-half points were critical back-to-back three-pointers at the top of the key late in the second half to stretch Duke's lead to nine at 66-57.  With 4:!2 left in the second half, the freshman point guard stubbed his toe after taking Butler's Matt Howard off of the dribble. He was taken out of the game temporarily, but, after getting looked at by the Duke support staff, reentered the game in the closing minutes with his father, Drederick Irving, seated nearby.

This game concluded a difficult stretch for the Duke Blue Devils, as they have faced Marquette, Kansas State, Oregon, Michigan State, and Butler in a two week span, all but one having been played far from the friendly and loud confines of Cameron Indoor Stadium. After the game, the always personable and mature young point guard, fresh off a pair of high-scoring games against high-profile opponents, spoke with the media anxious to hear from the hometown star.

Can you put the last few few weeks in context?

Up to this game..well, coming up to this game, we had a rough two weeks because we were playing against the top teams in the country. It's been a good growth period for us as a group. You know coming up to New Jersey. My hometown, man.

You guys got off to a slow start and they played you well defensively initially. Were you guys a little flat?

Yeah, we started off the game a little flat. Coach talked to us about, you know, picking up our energy. Our pressure was there, but they were seeing a lot of open looks. We tried to limit that, but, you know, they're a good team. Credit to them.

What did you see offensively? It seemed like the high-screen was really working in the second half?

Yeah, you know, we just continued running it, until they stopped it. In the second half, it worked really well for us.

What happened on the play where you hurt your toe and came out of the game?

Yeah, I was just on the wing and Howard was guarding me and I think I just stumped my toe. I had to come out of the game.

But you're okay now?

Yeah, yeah.

Offensively, in the second half, did you try to take over or did you feel like the game really came to you?

I think the game came to me. Nolan did a tremendous job. He played like a veteran tonight. He put us on his back in the second half and just knocked down a few big shots.

One of the good spurts tonight came actually when you were on the bench and Andre was out there and Seth too. What did you think about the way some of the other guys stepped up tonight?

Yeah, you know, they played well and applied pressure really well. Butler was working really hard offensively. Yeah, you know, like when I was on the bench, they really picked up the intensity and helped us a lot tonight in valuable minutes. It was big in terms of raising our intensity.

Zagoria: Did you have a lot of family and friends there today?
Zagoria: Do you know how many family and friends were out there? Your dad and everybody else.

Did you get to see him before the game? Obviously, you're coming off of a great game against Michigan State. He must've been very proud of you.

My Dad wasn't at the Michigan St. game, but I'm going to talk to him after I'm done here.

So, you didn't see him before?

No, no, I didn't.

Did you feel any additional pressure playing in front of so many family and friends?

Yeah, I was definitely pressing, particularly in the first half. You know I picked those two charges up in the first half. That was just a mistake on my part, being too aggressive. I don't think I was playing smart there. In the first half, I was really flat until I had those two baskets, but, in the second half, I really came out aggressively.

Can you talk about those back-to-back threes at the top of the key in the second half? It seemed to break their back.

Yeah, well, those were rhythm threes and they felt good.

Zagoria: I know going undefeated this season is a long way to go, but do you feel that, in any game, you can win?

Well, we approach, each game the same way mentally. So, we're just ready for each challenge.

Zagoria: Do you ever look ahead and say, "Oh, this team could beat us here." or do you not look it at it like that?
No, no, we can't do that.

Was there any sort of layoff coming off of that strong win against Michigan State and then making that quick turnaround? Do you think that was the reason for coming out somewhat lethargically?
Not really, I was a little flat in the first half

Not as a team, though?

What changed in the second half?
My energy picked up in the second half. We had a great halftime talk. Coach was (laughing) giving us that halftime speech that we needed.

Can you talk about how good Norad and the other perimeter guys were defensively?

Yeah, they're really good defensively individually, but as a team too. They were trying to clog the lanes in the first half. In the second half, when we started executing our plays, we were able to push them further from the basket.

Can you talk about getting them into foul trouble off of penetration. You got two of their guys into trouble and it sort of forced them to readjust. Was that a goal or did that just sort of happen?

No, Nolan and I just kept trying to attack openings when we would see them.

This building is not just important to you, but for the program. What was it like to come back here and get a win?

feels good. You know, when I landed at Newark airport, this is where I'm from.  So, I love it. I won a state championship here in my junior year You know coming back here feels good.

Walking away, what was the key difference in the second half?

Nolan helped sustain drives and lead in this game.  Nolan was definitely it and our energy picked up. Also, I think our conditioning. We work on it a lot and so I think it helped make a difference for us in the second half. It probably wore them down a little bit in the second half. It really worked for us in the second half, once we started to run.

Did you think of this as a business trip or a homecoming? When you thought about this game, how did you view or approach it?

Oh, every game is business. It's always a business trip for us. I mean it's my hometown, but I try to approach it like every other game, as if it was a home game at Duke.

And what does it mean to have come back here and match up with the same team that took Duke down to the wire in April. Now, eight months later, it didn't have to come down to the wire, but the opponent and the location.

It feels good that I'm now part of the team. When I saw them play, I was just a recruit. Being on the court and playing against a top team like Butler is a great experience.

Did you get a chance to see any of the guys from St. Pat's today?
No, not yet, but I'm sure I'll get a chance right after this.

Thanks, Kyrie.
Sure thing.

Smith, Irving lead Duke past Butler 82-70

Nolan Smith led Duke past Butler with 24 points - Lance King Images for BDN

The Butler Bulldogs lived up to their nickname but the Duke Blue Devils wore them down in the second half for a victory.  Duke's guard duo of Nolan Smith [24] and Kyrie Irving [21] combined for more than half of their points with 45 between them.  Kyle Singler added 13 points but was held in check for much of the game.

The smaller Bulldogs grabbed 35 rebounds, the same amount as the Blue Devils, and their hustle and defensive sets bothered Duke until and 11-0 second half run which helped Duke get a comfortable working margin down the stretch.  There were 11 lead changes in the game reminding one of last seasons national championship game which has been deemed one of the best of all time.

Duke looked flat in the early going and they were not matching the intensity their opponents were putting forth, perhaps because of a hangover from playing a break neck early season schedule where they defeated two of the nations pre season top 5 teams.

Andre Dawkins played a key role off the bench and was the Blue Devils only other double figure scorer ending the game with 10 points.  And to give you an idea of the pace of the game, neither team scored off a fast break.

While the Devils were not particularly impressive, they learned from being forced to run their half court offense.  Duke led by as many as 14 points late and Butler held a 5 point lead as well but foul trouble and cramps cost them the opportunity to finish the game with some of their key players.

We'll have more on the game shortly and a photo gallery from the event, so check back in with Blue Devil Nation. Here is a link to the Official Box Score.

Game Notes – Duke vs Butler

Game 8 l Carquest Auto Parts Classic  [1 AP / 1 Coaches] Duke (7-0)  vs. Butler (4-2)
Saturday, Dec. 4, 2010 • 3:15 p.m.
The Opening Tip• Duke faces Butler on Saturday, Dec. 4, at 3:15 p.m. (EST) in the Carquest Auto Parts Classic at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J.
• The game is being televised by ESPN with Dan Shulman (play-by-play), Jay Bilas (analyst) and Doris Burke (sideline) calling the action.
• Duke is ranked No. 1 in the AP and ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll, while Butler is unranked in both polls.
• The Blue Devils enter the contest 7-0 on the year, while the Bulldogs are 4-2 overall.
• Duke has won 17 consecutive games entering Saturday’s contest.
• The Blue Devils are looking to open the season 8-0 for the 16th time under Coach K.
• Saturday’s game marks a rematch of the 2010 NCAA Championship game. Duke earned its fourth NCAA title with a 61-59 win over Butler.
Duke at the Meadowlands (Izod Center)• Duke and head coach Mike Krzyzewski are 18-1 all-time at the Meadowlands.
• The Blue Devils have won 11 consecutive games at the Meadowlands dating back to a 77-75 loss to Arizona on Feb. 26, 1989.
• Duke is 10-0 in NCAA Tournament games and 8-1 in regular season games in East Rutherford, N.J.
Duke vs. the Horizon League• Duke is 9-1 all-time against teams currently in the Horizon League.
• The Blue Devils have won seven straight games against Horizon League opposition.
• Mike Krzyzewski is 7-0 at Duke against Horizon League opponents.
• Duke has a +18.3 scoring margin versus the Horizon League with six wins by 20 or more points.
Numbers Game
l Mike Krzyzewski is one win shy of matching Adolph Rupp for third place on the all-time coaching wins list. Coach K enters Saturday’s game with 875 career wins.l The Blue Devils have won 17 consecutive games dating back to a 79-72 loss at Maryland on March 3, 2010. Duke has won 25 of its last 26 games overall.
l Duke has won 34 consecutive games against teams outside the traditional power conferences (Big Ten, Big East, SEC, ACC, PAC 10, Big 12). Virginia Commonwealth’s 79-77 win over Duke in the 2007 NCAA Tournament was the Blue Devils’ last loss to a team from a non-power conference.
l The Blue Devils have won 16 straight neutral site games dating back to a 77-54 loss to Villanova in the 2009 NCAA Tournament.
l Duke has trailed a total of 3:00 this season. The Blue Devils have not trailed in the final 30 minutes of any game and have not trailed by more than two points this season.l Senior Nolan Smith leads the ACC with 18 straight double-figure scoring games. He has scored 10 or more points in 31 of the last 32 games for the Blue Devils.
l Duke’s starting backcourt of Nolan Smith and Kyrie Irving combines to average 33.8 points, 8.7 rebounds and 11.2 assists per game. The tandem is also shooting 53.0 percent (79-of-149) from the floor. Smith and Irving have both reached double-figures in scoring in all seven games this season.
l Duke has scored 80 or more points in six games this season. The Blue Devils have won 21 consecutive games when scoring 80+ points. Duke is 488-46 under Coach K when scoring 80 or more points in a game.
l Sophomore Mason Plumlee has three double-doubles and has grabbed 10 or more rebounds four times this season. Plumlee is averaging 13.0 points, 9.8 rebounds, 2.5 blocks and 2.0 steals per game in the last four contests.
l Senior Kyle Singler is expected to make his 118th career start on Saturday. Duke is 99-18 with Singler in the starting lineup. Singler’s .846 winning percentage as a starter at Duke is the fourth-best in school history.
l Kyrie Irving, Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler are combining to average 53.8 points per game over the last four contests. l Duke is the only team in the ACC with more than one player ranked in the top 10 in scoring. Nolan Smith and Kyrie Irving are tied for fourth at 16.9 points per game, while Kyle Singler ranks seventh at 16.0 ppg.
l Freshman Kyrie Irving ranks in the top 10 of the ACC in six statistical categories (scoring, field goal percentage, free throw percentage, assists, steals and assist-to-turnover ratio).
l Duke has forced 20 or more turnovers four times this season. The Blue Devils are averaging 25.3 points per game off turnovers.
l The Blue Devils are averaging 49.0 points per game in the second half of play this season. Duke is shooting 55.5 percent (111-of-200) from the field, including 56.5 percent (39-of-69) from three-point range, over the final 20 minutes of action.
l Senior Kyle Singler is averaging 18.3 points per game while shooting 48.6 percent (18-of-37) from the field and 47.1 percent (8-of-17) from three-point range in neutral site games this season.

BDN Post Game – Duke handles Michigan State 84-79- Coach K post game comments

Kyrie Irving scores a career high 31 points to lead Duke past Michigan State 84-79, Photo Lance King for BDN

The Duke Blue Devils rode a 31 point effort from Kyrie Irving to take out pesky Michigan State 84-79 in a jam packed  Cameron Indoor Stadium.  With the win the Blue Devils go to 7-0 on the season and next entertain Butler in a rematch of last seasons national championship game.  BDN takes a look at the win with our post game report.

Kyrie, Kyrie and Kyrie

Almost every question posed from the media was about Kyrie Irving no matter who they were talking to.  I followed Irving on the AAU trail and saw him play 20 plus games before he set foot on campus so tonight's 31 point career high effort is no surprise to me.  Irving blew up in the eyes of the national media tonight and the freshman made an early statement as the conferences best newcomer.  Heck, he may be the best freshman in the nation.  Irving was in short sensational ... wait I stole that from Krzyzewski.  Irving's 13 made free throws is tops of any freshman in Duke history.  His two blocked shots were a season high.  Irving had been sick earlier in the week on Monday but returned to practice on Tuesday.

Sensational, superb, scintillating

When asked by media members to describe Irving's game Krzyzewski joked with the media member who asked him to use adjectives which you will hear in the post game audio below.  Krzyzewski borrowed some from Dick Vitale but hey, they sounded original.  Krzyzewski's mood was as expected good after beating a solid Spartans team.

Stars warm up just in time

After slow starts Kyle Singler and fellow senior Nolan Smith warmed up and both finished strong.  Singler knocked down two three pointers after going 2 of 11 early on finishing with 15 points to go with 7 rebounds.  Smith had a team high 5  assists to go with 17 points and he had back to back baskets during a key stretch run.

Mason Plumlee was a man

Mason had a double-double sure.  But it was his 5 steals which really impressed and that earned him glowing comments from Krzyzewski.  Plumlee has turned the corner of late and was an iron man in the game but he did not participate in post game interviews.  The reason is he was immediately treated for a sprained ankle.  Duke would not have won this game had Mason not played as well as he did.  It's a game he can really build on.

Duke forces 20 turnovers

The Duke defense was especially good during a second half run an they forced the Spartans into 20 turnovers and scored a whopping 28 points.  Michigan State forced Duke into 15 but  scored just 14 off of theirs.

More notes - Duke moves to 11-1 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and their streak of home wins goes to 81.  Duke has now won 17 straight games going back to last season.  Duke has recorded ten or more steals in 5 of 7 games to date.  Duke has trailed a grand total of three total minutes in all games this season.  Duke has started 7-0 for the 12th time.  Mason Plumlee now has three career double-doubles.  Nolan Smith leads the ACC with 18 straight double figure scoring games.

Coach K left the podium at 12:20 and here are his comments verbatim -

Just press play -

Monday Musings – Duke Basketball and Football tidbits

Here's another Monday Musings Cheeleader of the Week pic!

Welcome to another edition of Monday Musings Blue Devil Nation!  Duke Athletics had another full weekend slate and we'll take a look back and ahead on the latest edition of Watzone's Monday Musings.

Enter Goliath!

In the pre season Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski joked about during the annual ACC Media Day about how Duke became known as Goliath in media circles once they entered the championship game against Butler, a team that rolled their way to the final.  Everywhere you turn Duke is getting cover boy status with magazines to go along with the outstanding ESPNU Special.  And then Duke has been named the favorite to win another national title, yet we all know that the teams generally picked for that spot rarely are there in the end.  Anyway you look at it, Duke is Goliath this season or the 800 pound gorilla in the room for they will be painted as such so there is little any of us can do about it.

A pretty good start to the season for the Duke Men

Duke was hardly clicking on all cylinders against Princeton, yet they still won convincingly via the three point shot and their staple defense.  Duke had a long time to prepare for Princeton, more time than anyone else might receive the rest of the way.   It'll be interesting to see how Duke plays Miami of Ohio after having less prep time.  But back to last evening, Duke looked every bit the part of the aforementioned label Goliath.  It's got to be scary for opponents to realize they might shut one or even two players down on this seasons team, but Duke has too many offensive weapons and somebody will almost certainly pick up the slack.

The Duke Women are rocking too

Duke has an interesting mix of youth and experience on the basketball court this season and they should be a top ten main stay all year long.  I was really impressed by the play of young freshman guard Chloe Wells the other night and she'll take to the court against Southern Cal this evening.  Duke handled BYU in the opener by dominating the paint and tonight is another good early season test, so turn out in Cameron if you are in the area.  The Duke Women, like the Duke Men have been rocking the recruiting front as well, but we'll talk of that later in the week.

Devils oh-so close on the football field

Duke lost a heart breaker to Boston College as a pass was batted down as Duke was knocking on the door in what would have been a rousing win.  Despite the loss, Duke continues to show improvement in many areas and the team will show up in Atlanta and in my opinion give Georgia Tech all they want.  A look up and down the roster shows how many players Duke will return for next year and they are playing to get better in closing out a season where they fell just short in three ACC games.  For the record had they won those tight contest, Duke would have been 6-4.

Two Devils will push for All ACC honors

When it comes time to vote for All ACC teams, the media will realistically consider Duke placekicker Will Snyderwine and wideout Conner Vernon for first team.  Snyderwine is as accurate a kicker as Duke has had in a good while and he made second team last season.  Vernon leads the ACC in most receiving categories.  And go ahead and pencil Kelby Brown on some freshman All American teams.  And note that all of these player return next season.  The Blue Devils lose six starters but have replacements with experience coming back and some pretty decent redshirts to add to the mix.

Sean Renfree

Renfree didn't put the ball in the end zone but he had another solid game going 35 of 49 for 285 yards.  His experiences this season will shape and mold his character even more and he will never give up as seen by this quote, "Nobody's going to put his head down.  We have two games left against two very good teams.  We're going to prepare as we have all season long."

And the Viking ship was set to sea

Students wore Viking Helmets in tribute to Drew Everson who had a fall to his death on campus recently.  Drew was a popular fellow amongst his peers and the head line monitor and he was given a Viking salute last evening.  He would have been proud of the Cameron Crazies efforts which were praised by Krzyzewski in his post game press conference.