• Duke Punches Final Four Ticket in Win Over Gonzaga

    Posted: March 29th, 2015


    Mike Krzyzewski is living in the moment with his youngest team ever, not thinking too much about the significance of his latest trip to the NCAA Final Four.

    With their trio of freshmen starting, the Duke Blue Devils are going to their 16th Final Four, and a record-tying 12th for Krzyzewski, after a 66-52 win over Gonzaga on Sunday to win the South Regional.

    “Just being with these kids and sharing this moment and this Final Four, I’m so happy, I’m so happy for them and to be with them,” Coach K said. “I love my team. … They’re taking me to Indy, which is kind of neat.”

    Justise Winslow, the freshman playing at home in Houston, finished with 16 points after rolling his left ankle early in the game and had a big 3-pointer in the closing minutes. Tyus Jones scored 15 points, while Jahlil Okafor had nine points and eight rebounds.

    “Coach has been to however many Final Fours, but this is his first one with this group, and that’s what means the most,” Winslow said. “Living in this moment, living right now.”

    Duke (33-4), the region’s No. 1 seed, is going to Indianapolis to play Michigan State in the Final Four. At the Westgate SuperBook, the Blue Devils opened as a 4.5-point favorite over the Spartans. The other national semifinal game Saturday has undefeated Kentucky playing Wisconsin.

    With 12, Krzyzewski matches UCLA’s John Wooden for the most Final Four appearances by a head coach. There are three coaches with seven, including Michigan State’s Tom Izzo.

    Duke’s last Final Four and national title was in 2010, when the Blue Devils were also the No. 1 seed in the South Regional and had to go through Houston.

    No. 2 seed Gonzaga (35-3) had taken a 38-34 lead less than four minutes into the second half, putting the Blue Devils in their largest deficit of this tournament.

    Young Duke responded with nine straight points and never trailed again.

    But Gonzaga later missed a chance to tie the game when Kyle Wiltjer missed an open layup with just under five minutes to play.

    “You make that thing 499 times out of 500. It was just a fluke,” coach Mark Few said. “It just didn’t fall in. When that kind of moment happens, you’ve just got to shake your head, and it’s not your night.”

    Matt Jones, a sophomore starter for the Blue Devils, had 16 points with four 3-pointers. Quinn Cook, the senior guard who was part of Duke’s opening-round upset losses in 2012 and 2014, had 10 points.

    Winslow’s 3-pointer from the left wing with 2:28 left stretched the lead to 60-51 in a homecoming for the forward, who turned 19 on Thursday.

    After coming down awkwardly on a missed layup less than eight minutes into the game, Winslow got his left ankle rewrapped but wasn’t out long.

    “I rolled it pretty bad,” he said. “It was a little stiff, a little sore, but I knew you never get this chance again, so I just gave it my all.”

    Wiltjer, the transfer from Kentucky who as a freshman was part of the Wildcats’ 2012 national championship, had 16 points. Byron Wesley had 10.

    Gonzaga has been to 17 consecutive NCAA tournaments but never the Final Four.

    This was only Gonzaga’s second regional final, and its first since 1999, when the mid-major Bulldogs were a No. 10 seed that lost to top-seeded UConn. Few was an assistant coach on that squad and took over as head coach the following season.

    Two years after losing in their second game as a No. 1 seed, the Zags missed out again in the finale for Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr. The seniors, who each played at least 135 games for Gonzaga, were a combined 4-of-14 shooting for nine points.

    Wesley, the other Gonzaga senior starter who had transferred from USC for his final season, picked up a loose ball and made a layup while being foul. His free throw made it 38-34 with 16:20 left.

    Duke’s go-ahead stretch included a tiebreaking 3-pointer by Matt Jones on an assist from Tyus Jones, who then had a nifty play to get Duke the ball back.

    Przemek Karnowski had grabbed a defensive rebound before being stripped by Jones, who leaped in the air for the loose ball and dropped it straight down on Karnowski, laying out of bounds. Okafor then made a jumper.

    “It was just a point in the game we had to make plays,” Jones said. “Coach tells us to be confident.”

    And they are.

    Source: http://www.goduke.com/ViewArticle.dbml?SPSID=22724&SPID=1845&DB_LANG=C&ATCLID=209990462&DB_OEM_ID=4200

Challenges

No matter how successful you believe yourself to be, you can never feel as if you’ve reached the absolute pinnacle. There are always new and wonderful challenges out there, and part of maintaining success is knowing when you need to accept them.

- Coach K
Adversity

Adversity can teach you more about yourself than any success, and overcoming an obstacle can sometimes feel even better than achieving an easy victory. Through adversity, you can discover things about your endurance, your ability to turn a negative into a positive, and your personal strength of heart.

- Coach K
Belief

Belief can mean the difference between a fear of failure and the courage to try. On a team or in a family, belief makes each individual stronger and also fortifies the group as a whole. The basis of belief is in individual relationships.

- Coach K
Care

When you care about someone or something, you show genuine concern for that person or thing, in good times or bad. When you care about one another and about your purpose, you are compelled to put your feelings into action. Care creates an atmosphere that breeds success and gives you the confidence to try again.

- Coach K
Courage

You can possess countless good qualities as an individual, but if you don”t have the courage to proceed, you may never see those qualities come into fruition. It takes courage to put what you believe to be best of you on the line, to test it, and to see how far it takes you. Courage means daring to do what you imagine.

- Coach K
Collective Responsibility

We win and we lose together. Handling the responsibility for wins and losses together removes the burden from one individual’s shoulders and distributes it among each member of the team. That atmosphere is conducive to high-level performance and places you and your team in the position to be bold and unafraid, and if you should lose, you are not alone.

- Coach K
Commitment

When you are winning, your commitment is never challenged. But loyalty and dedication during difficult times can be tough. When commitment doesn’t waver, that’s when you have the greatest chance of winning. You can never give up.

- Coach K
Adaptability

You have to adapt what you do based on who you are. In teaching, you must remember that no group or individual is the same as who you taught the day before, the year before, or the decade before. Your plan has to suit who you and your team are right now.

- Coach K
Balance

Take care not to allow one aspect of your life to so consume you that you neglect the others. Balance can put things in perspective, can bring you joy even when you are down, and can allow you to be at your best in all aspects of your life.

- Coach K
Communication

Effective teamwork begins and ends with communication. Communication does not always occur naturally, and must be taught and practiced in order to bring everyone together as one. The most crucial element of communicating is telling the truth.

- Coach K
View More Coach K Quotes