NCAA Tournament: Jon Scheyer recaps Duke’s performance versus Vols

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No. 4 seed Tennessee (24-10, 11-7 SEC) defeated No. 5 seed Duke (27-8, 14-6 ACC), 65-52, Saturday at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida, in the second round of the 2023 NCAA Tournament.

The Vols advance to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.

Following the second-round contest, first-year Duke head coach Jon Scheyer met with media.

“Well, one, congratulations to Tennessee,” Scheyer said. “They played an outstanding game. They’re incredibly well-coached. They’re tough. They’ve been through it before. They made some big-time plays.

I’m incredibly proud of our team. We’ve had really a great season, and it’s hard to reflect on all of that right now in the moment. I’m hurting for these guys. They’ve given us everything you could ask for. They’ve fought through adversity. They’ve stuck together when things weren’t looking as good and came into this game one of the hottest teams in the country, and we felt like we were supposed to win this game, as did they. Really felt like a Sweet 16, Elite 8 game type of game. They’re really good, and credit them, they shoot almost 50 from three, and (Olivier) Nkamhoua has one of his best games, maybe his best game ever, and you’ve got to tip your hat to him, but really proud of our team and what we’ve done. It hurts. It stings. It’s going to be that way for a while, but really proud of our guys and these guys next to me right here.”

PHOTOS: Tennessee defeats Duke in NCAA Tournament

Scheyer’s continued media availability is listed below.

Olivier Nkamhoua has had a couple games this year where he's done something like this and there have been some two, four, five-point games. What was the scouting report on him? Was there a way to just try to contain what he does or make sure he doesn't have one of those kind of games?

“Yeah, I mean, look, he’s been a really good player. He’s also — he hasn’t been the leading scorer. Vescovi is a key guy. He draws a lot of attention the way he moves and cuts without the ball and they set hard screens for him. Olivier, credit him. I thought he hit some really tough shots. There were some contested shots in the paint. He hit three threes. I don’t know if he hit three threes, but he obviously worked and an experienced player. You’ve got to give him all the credit in the world. I thought he played a great game. But sometimes that happens. Unfortunately, a player rises to the occasion, and you have to give him credit.”

How much did early foul trouble affect the game plan?

“Well, it wasn’t ideal. That’s part of how it goes. They did a great job of attacking the basket. I thought we probably settled a little too much in the first half, but look, if Jeremy getting fouls, Flip, any of these guys next to me, that’s a big deal. We still played those guys, and they did a good job playing through it, but you end up managing the game as opposed to being really aggressive and instinctive, which is what we’ve done a great job of doing.”

What did you see during this game that you may want to work on for next year, or is there something you can work on to improve, to move on?

“Well, obviously, there’s a lot that we can do better. I’m not even close to being there with thinking about next year. I’ll obviously evaluate this afterwards. I’m going to watch this game. I have to. I have to watch this game and think about how I could have helped these guys better, things we could have done, but sometimes that’s how the game goes. I don’t want to overevaluate it, either. We were right there. You have to hit a few more shots and get a few more rebounds, and this game is fragile. Anyway, I could answer that question at a later time, but I just want to say again how proud I am of these guys right here and what they’ve done and we’ll continue to do.”

Coach, for you this season, what has been the most rewarding part of the season, and to the student-athletes, same question. I know it's a tough day, but what's been most rewarding about this year?

“I don’t think it’s even close for me. It’s seeing these guys grow as players, as people, seeing our team do the same thing. I felt like we made huge strides from November to now. I think our team is night and day. We ran into the wrong team on the wrong day. They outplayed us today, and you have to credit them, but I felt like we could play with anybody in the country. That’s for me by far the most rewarding thing. To represent the school where I played, where I’ve coached for the last nine years has meant the world, and I’m just proud of these guys for what they’ve done.”

Story originally appeared on Vols Wire