Playing in its first game in nine days, Duke needed a wake-up call. They got it in the form of a jacket-removing, venom spewing Coach K tantrum during an early time out.
The Blue Devils shook off early doldrums to pull away from Brown in the second half, winning 75-50 to close out their non-conference schedule.
“(Brown) is a veteran team and well prepared,” Krzyzewski said afterward. “They didn’t play for 18 days, and when you have a veteran team, you have a better chance of being you. We came back two days ago, because I want them home for Christmas. We’ve had two practices and we got them up early this morning. We looked like we had not played or practiced for a while, especially in talking. We did not communicate well. We didn’t play well, and they played well.”
When Brown hit a pair of three-pointers to tie the game at 12, off came Coach K’s jacket as he challenged his team during a time out huddle.
“We just needed to step up and go to his level,” senior Jack White said. “The reason he took it off is that we weren’t playing how we should’ve been, giving open looks to their shooters and letting them get on the boards – things we really want to take away.”
“It’s Coach K yelling at you, and he really just wants the best out of you,” freshman Vernon Carey said. “He knows that we can improve a lot. Nothing’s personal with him. You just take the message and just do it, really.”
Duke led by six at the half, but the Blue Devils struggled with their outside shot, preventing them from putting Brown away. With 6:30 remaining in the game, Duke was 0-for-14 from three and seemed in danger of going without making a triple for the first time since December 1989.
Alex O’Connell broke the drought by hitting, on his way to a pair of threes and 14 points on the day, second to Carey’s 19.
Duke played its second straight game without point guard Tre Jones, who is recovering from a mild ankle sprain.
“He felt pretty good after but still not completely sure,” Krzyzewski said. “I think he needs another day or two. I expect him to participate in practice with contact tomorrow.”