Coach K on Notre Dame-Duke Atmosphere: The Crowd and the Team Were One
After saying he needed more from the Duke fans in the previous home game, coach Mike Krzyzewski was pleased with the crowd’s response in the win over Notre Dame.
“Well, we played great, and we beat a really good team,” he said. “I thought the crowd was unbelievable, and the energy—it’s more like the Cameron of old. Since we said we were going to be old-fashioned. It was just like an old-fashioned Cameron game, where the crowd and the team were one, and during that magical stretch in the second half where everything just goes nuts, it was just nuts. Mike Brey and I, obviously, are really close. A number of the banners you see up here, he was my Final Four assistant coach. While he was here we just went to Final Fours and won two National Championships. After the game, he said, ‘It was like pickup for a while.’ We just hit everything. [Notre Dame was] playing really well in the first half, and I was proud of my guys because we were ready to play. Sometimes, after a segment of the season, like we won those four hellacious games in nine days, you can take a deep breath, and then all of the sudden, you’re not there. Our guys did not do that, they practiced well this week, and in the first half, I thought we outplayed them for about 13 minutes, and they outplayed us for seven. We were both playing well, but we’d have a spurt, then they’d have a spurt, spurt, spurt, then we had a spurt, then it was halftime - it was a good thing, because they were ready to have another spurt. In the second half, we just exploded. Vernon [Carey], I thought that was one of his best games, he played through contact. Look, we go the way of our leader, Tre [Jones] was magnificent, not good, and the kid is a special, special guy. Leading the break, defense, and his mate, Jordan Goldwire, the defense that those two kids are playing has just been at a high, high level. Our goal was to take away as many threes as possible, and we did that. We beat a really good team, a team that was fighting to be an NCAA team—I think they could go on a roll—and a veteran team. So, I’m proud of my guys. We get a day off, and then we come back and go on the road against [NC] State to try to keep it going.”