What the Eagles and Coach Krzyzewski said about the game

Robert George

The Georgia Southern Eagles traveled to Durham, N.C., to take on the Duke Blue Devils on Tuesday night. The Eagles battled for 40 minutes but fell to the defending national champions 99-65. Here’s what the players and coaches had to say about the night.

Coach Mark Byington 

On playing in Cameron Indoor Stadium: “I wanna thank Coach K for playing us. I have the utmost respect for Coach K. I knew coming into a game like this that it would be a learning experience.  I wanted our guys to see their culture. How hard (Duke) played kind of knocked us on our heels. When they missed the shot, they went and got it. That’s a championship culture. I’m a guy who came to Coach K’s basketball camp when I was a kid. To be in this gym and go against this is a great experience for us.”

“I was proud of our guys. They didn’t hesitate. To come in and ignore the environment and play basketball. The biggest thing I’m gonna take away is that we have talent and we got some guys that can play. They just need the experience.”

On Tookie Brown’s big night: “Tookie is 5’9” but he is tough. He’s not scared of the moment and he is willing to make plays and willing to compete. For a guy like him to be playing high school basketball to come into Duke and really compete, I was proud of him.”

On Brandon Ingram: “We wont see anybody like Brandon Ingram. In fact most teams in the country wont see a guy like him, with his length and skill. He’s not the biggest guy in the world, but he impressed me with his toughness tonight. He went after everything. I knew Grayson Allen was like that, but Ingram really impressed me.”

On the free throw situation: “The 32 free throws from Duke didn’t surprise me. They do a really good job of attacking, that’s what they’re built on. I didn’t know when our first free throw was gonna be. The referees did a good job tonight. I wish we would’ve gotten to the line a little more, but bigger than that, I wish we would have kept them off the line more.”

Tookie Brown 

On the game: “Yeah we had butterflies in us at first but we played good at the beginning. We started giving up on balls towards the end of the game though. It’s a learning experience. I feel like when conference play comes I’ll be ready.”

On his 20 point night: “It’s the way (my teammates) give me the ball. I’m just trying to get my team involved and get the win. Whether its two or 20, I’m just trying to get them involved.”

Devonte Boykins 

On the night and how the Eagles can improve: “We felt pretty comfortable out there. They started outrebounding us in the second half. That really killed us. From this game we can take away that we gotta be tougher. Like the 50-50 balls, we gotta get those. They got second opportunity points and that really killed us.”

On team defense going forward: “We can guard anybody, it’s just gotta be a team effort. It can’t just be one guy, we all gotta rotate and help each other out.”

Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski 

On his star player’s big night: “Brandon (Ingram) did a good job pursuing the ball and rebounding. Obviously, he made a couple of spectacular plays at the basket.”

On the Eagles: “They had a great year last year, their coach did a great job with them. They have great players, they’re just young. They play a pretty aggressive style. I think they’ll keep getting better. Very young team, well coached. They got something to really build on, and that’s a nice thing. I was really impressed with the attitude and enthusiasm of the coaching staff. “

On Tookie Brown: “He’s a good player. I think he’s their most poised player. As a freshman, he ran his team well. He just adds stability. I thought he had really good poise, and he never got tired. He gets fouled a lot, and our guys did good with not fouling him. He played well; he’s a good player.” 

All photos by Brandon Warnock