Not long after his third-seeded Blue Devils were surprisingly knocked off in Raleigh by No. 14 seed Mercer, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski peeked into the entranceway of the Bears' winning locker room at PNC Arena to pay a compliment to the Bears.
Mercer's 78-71 win over Duke means the Bears advance to the round of 32 and will face No. 11 seed Tennessee on Sunday.
“You guys have a hell of a basketball team,” Krzyzewski said. “I love the game and you guys play the game really, really well and your coach coaches it well. If we had to be beaten, I’m glad we got beaten by a hell of a basketball team. So good luck to you.”
Before the Mercer players and coaches had time to say “thank you,” Krzyzewski had already departed, leaving an incredulous silence behind.
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“My God,” senior Daniel Coursey, who scored 17 points for the Bears in the win, said to reporters. “That’s huge. Coach K is one of the most famous basketball coaches ever and for him to just come in here and tell us we’re a great basketball team – that’s pretty unbelievable to tell you the truth.”
This was a classy move from Krzyzewski, especially after a tough loss like this one. The disappointment was evident just from the look on his face, so kudos to him for the gesture.
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