Duke didn’t have the start it wanted against Brown on Saturday.
“I feel like we just started off slow,” Vernon Carey Jr. said. “Especially guarding screens and stuff in the first half.”
Coach Mike Krzyzewski was not pleased and let the team know about it.
“Coach just gave us a motivational speech,” Carey said. “In the second half, I felt like we just picked it up from there.”
Duke went on to win 75-50, and Carey led the way with 19 points for the Blue Devils. Carey credited Coach K’s words with helping to light a fire under the team.
“Whenever he’s mad he just gets the best out of us, really,” he said. “Especially at halftime, he gave us a speech. It was just about playing hard and giving all you’ve got, really.”
It also must have focused on getting the ball inside, because Carey scored Duke’s first eight points of the second half.
“Be aggressive,” Carey recalled of the halftime advice. “Be strong with the ball. I feel like in the first half, we kept losing the ball. It was slipping out of my hand. So just being stronger with it.”
Carey faced double and triple teams inside, but that didn’t slow the Blue Devils’ attack.
“We’ve got to move the ball around quicker so they won’t be able to help,” he said. “Just make smart passes out of a double or triple team.”
Duke didn’t have Tre Jones.
“I knew since we came back, because he wasn’t practicing with us,” Carey said. “He’s just been doing rehab stuff. We played without him for the Wofford game. Obviously, it would have been great to have him out there. He’s one of our captains. But I feel like J Gold (Jordan Goldwire) did a great job the past few days stepping up.”