What John Scheyer had to say after Duke's Elite 8 loss to NC State

Duke head coach John Scheyer thanked his team after its loss to NC State in the Elite 8 but he wasn't ready to talk much about the future.
NC State v Duke
NC State v Duke / Lance King/GettyImages

Following his team's tough 76-64 loss to NC State in the Elite 8, Duke head coach John Scheyer was grateful for his team. Of course, it was also easy to tell that this loss took a toll on the second-year head coach.

"First of all, look, this is really tough," he said. "This is not easy. Congratulations to NC State. They earned the win.

"I thought in the first half, we played great defense. They only scored 21 points, but we never had a rhythm on offense. Never. So in the second half, they started to score more, and our offense just -- it was probably the most disjointed game that we've had all year. It really was. I know that's the biggest differential. We've been in every single game this year, and that one at the end was -- we're
just trying to make it a couple possession game."

Duke's offense did pick up in the second half as the Blue Devils put up 37 points. However, their defense faltered mightily after halftime allowing NC State to score 55 points.

"So it's really tough," Scheyer said. "You have to give them credit for some of the shots they made and all that, but I could not be more proud of this group and this team. We did this year differently. We didn't have a transfer. We had four freshmen. We had five sophomores.

"This group, every time we played bad, lost, they always responded and came back. Part of the burden of wearing the jersey is the criticism that comes with that, and part of the amazing part about wearing this jersey is all the people that stick with you through those moments.

"I'll never forget the people that messaged me, messaged these guys, our team, in that moment after losing to Carolina, NC State back-to-back games because those are the ones you know that are really with you, that kept believing, kept supporting. I know these guys are hurting and disappointed that we couldn't get it -- that we couldn't go to the Final Four and go to Phoenix, for us most importantly, but also for those people. It's disappointing. I feel for these guys, but I'm thankful for them for everything they've done for our program and for Duke. They've been awesome to coach."

Scheyer was then asked why his defense struggled after halftime. Interestingly, he pointed to his team's offensive struggles as one reason.

"Well, I have to go back and watch the film for sure," he said, "but I thought it was our offense that hurt our defense. I mean, it gives a team, especially these guys -- it gives them life when you miss an open three, you get the rebound, and then you throw to them for a fastbreak or give them run-outs. The whole game changes.

"For me really our defense was a product of our offense. That was a start. Look, with Burns and Horne, obviously, they've done this a lot to other people, but you can't let both of them get going.
Burns we could live with to a certain extent, although I still think some of those, again, he got late and all that, but he hurt us, no question. But we couldn't let Horne get going also. I think there were some breakdowns there that I'll have to go back and watch and see. You can't let them both get going."

Next, Scheyer was asked to evaluate the job of being Duke's head coach after two years. He didn't seem too interested in such an evaluation, though.

"To be honest with you," he said, "I'm not thinking about my job and these two years. I'm thinking about the fact that this group just came back after having a tough ACC Tournament loss and have played their hearts out in three tournament games, and they're winning at halftime.

"They're heartbroken after the game because it didn't go the way they wanted it to. I'm thinking about these guys. Where is our program at? I think our program couldn't be in a stronger place. We're just 20 minutes away from going to a Final Four in our second year.

"I don't shy away from our expectations or what we want to do, but for me, that's not the way I'm thinking at all. I'm just hurting for these guys right now."

The final question asked of Scheyer was intersting. He was asked to evaluate his philosophy of not taking a transfer and relying instead on a young roster. Again, he didn't seem too interested in assessing that big-picture strategy right away. interesting

"Again, I'm not there right now," he said "but I'll tell you, I'm proud of how we've done it in a unique way. Just because you do something this way this year, I mean, look, that's not going to happen for next year. There's just no way. There's too much.

"It's been such a blessing coaching basketball games and every day you see hundreds of kids go in the transfer portal. That's just the world we live in. We're going to continue to adapt and adjust with all that, but you are always looking for balance.

"When you have our team this year, when you have a Filipowski, when you have a Mitchell, a Proctor, those guys come back. Well, you always want to build from within if you can. Getting those guys returning where you have a relationship, you've been through some battles together, there's always value in that.

"Again, I'm not going to give you any big answers on what we're going to do this offseason or next year. We have to digest this loss first, which will take some time. Like we've experienced this postseason, some of the beauty of the tournament, and this is the heartbreak of it. We have to
figure out why."