You’d think that after putting up a career high 31 points Friday night, Duke point guard Tre Jones would be all smiles in the locker room. But he was anything but after the 74-63 win, saying he doesn’t even care about the accomplishment.
“I know from experience last year that there are a lot of ups and downs throughout the year. This was a pretty good game for myself, but as far as our team goes we could’ve played a lot better and I know as a leader that’s on me.”
Coach K was much more complimentary of his floor general.
“[Tre Jones] is getting better. Scoring wise, he works every day. The last two summers, he’s been out for 4 or 5 months, so he can score obviously, he scored 31 points tonight. So, I’m not worried about him shooting, a lot of other people are. He’s really good, he put on a hell of a performance tonight. Some of his stuff in the full court, not only his finishing, [but his ability to finish through hard contact], he’s like a running back for crying out loud. And he’s still playing on the defensive end. He had a great performance tonight, and he’s one of the best players in the country. And he showed it tonight. He really led us, so I’m proud of him.”
From tip off, Georgia State set the tone that they weren’t going down without a fight in Cameron. It’s a mentality that’s not lost on any top team in college athletics. You’re always going to get everyone’s best effort. To counter that intensity you have to have your own sense of urgency. The Blue Devils struggled with that in the first half – heading to the break with just a two point lead.
“I like my team, they’ve worked hard. They didn’t approach the game [today] with the intensity they needed to. I’m not saying they weren’t ready, they weren’t ready at the level they needed to play [Georgia State] at, and they saw it. I’ve told my team this a number of times, ‘In the past couple of games,coaches have come in here and said how hard Duke plays, and those are great compliments, and that is our calling card. If you show up and don’t play hard, that gives a lot of confidence to the other team – ‘Oh, they’re not who we thought they were’ – so if we don’t come out and match or exceed that effort, we’re giving our opponent momentum right from the start. And I thought that was evident right away [tonight], because we weren’t strong with the ball. And, not that [Georgia State] wasn’t confident, their confidence grew.”
“They beat us to loose balls, they were going strong to the ball for rebounds, and they came up with those balls. It just seemed like they had a bit more tenacity than us in the first half,” team captain Jack White said after the win. “Obviously, we reflected on that coming into halftime and knew we had to really turn it around and start with that first four-minute segment of the second half, just kind of letting them know how it was going to be for this next 20 minutes. I feel like we did a good job of that, just with our intensity and our defense especially. I think we only gave up high 20’s [points] in the second half maybe, apart from those buckets at the end. We definitely put an emphasis on that, and I think we did a lot better job of just rebounding in the second half in general. Matt [Hurt] had six offensive rebounds just on his own. Just big plays, and I think guys just stepped up and responded to Coach [Mike Krzyzewski] challenging us at halftime.”
Duke finally opened up the game, going up by double digits with 14:36 remaining for the rest of the contest.
The Blue Devils travel back to New York next week to continue play in the 2K Empire Classic.
“Expect the same from this team – being extremely hungry still,” Tre Jones said. “No matter what happens to start off the week, just extremely hungry, we’re going up there with one goal in mind – to come back with two wins and continue to grow on defense and offense.”
- Duke recorded 30 offensive rebounds in the game – its most in a game in the Coach K era and the most since a school record 37 versus Wake Forest on February 14, 1968. Before tonight, the five previous instances of 30+ offensive-rebound games came in the 1960s
- Sophomore Tre Jones scored a game and career high 31 points on 10-of-19 shooting, 4-of-8 from three-point range and 7-
of-10 at the free throw line
- Duke improved to 20-1 in games when Jones scores in double digits.
- Freshman Vernon Carey Jr., posted his second consecutive double-double with career highs for points (20) and rebounds (14).