Vernon Carey on Beating Notre Dame: We All Stepped Up Big Time
Vernon Carey was matched up against an ACC Player of the Year candidate with far more experience than the Duke freshman big man, when he faced Notre Dame and post player John Mooney on Saturday. Much like he did against Kansas’ experienced All-American candidate Udoka Azubuike in the opener, Carey more than held his own. Coach Mike Krzyzewski said it was one of Carey’s best performances of the year as he scored 21 points on 8-of-10 shooting, including a made three-pointer and 4-of-5 from the line. He also added four rebounds, two assists, two blocks and a steal.
More importantly, Duke recorded the win, blowing out the Irish, 94-60.
“Overall, especially in the second half, we did a good job of getting stops and capitalizing on their misses, really,” Carey said.
Carey’s job inside was made easier by Duke’s guards, who led the way on defense. Duke recorded 11 steals on the day, and Notre Dame guards T.J. Gibbs and Rex Pflueger were both held scoreless.
“Our game plan for the guards was just to deny the ball,” Carey said. “Deny the ball on the passes. J Gold (Jordan Goldwire), AO (Alex O’Connell), every guard on the team stepped up big-time today.”
Carey is happy with how Duke is playing. “Definitely,” he said. “We’ve just got to keep it going, just take it one game at a time. We’re just looking forward to NC State now.”
Duke won despite not having Cassius Stanley, who injured his eye in pregame warmups.
“Coach (Mike Krzyzewski) told us next man up,” Carey said. “He told us right before we walked out onto the court for warmups that Cass wasn’t going to be able to play today. So Matt (Hurt) took his role. He stepped up. We all stepped up big time.”