Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski celebrates with guard Tyler Thornton and the rest of the Blue Devils after tying Bob Knight's career record of 902 wins. CHUCK LIDDY - firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated 8:03 p.m.
DURHAM – After completing the ESPNU interview Saturday, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski grinned at the players who were still waiting for him on the floor that bears his name at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Krzyzewski had just tied his mentor, Bob Knight, atop the Division I career men’s basketball coaching list as the No. 6-ranked Blue Devils breezed to a 96-55 defeat of Presbyterian.
Duke’s players weren’t about to leave the floor without their coach, so they waited and congratulated him as a group.
“It was just spur of the moment,” said junior forward Ryan Kelly, who led Duke with 17 points. “We’re proud of what he’s done.”
Krzyzewski is 902-284 in 37 seasons and equaled Knight, the former Indiana and Texas Tech coach for whom Krzyzewski played point guard at Army. Krzyzewski can break his former Army coach’s record with a win against Michigan State on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden in a game that tips off at 7 p.m.
In a way, Krzyzewski is eager for the record breaking to be over. He wants to focus all his attention on making his inexperienced team better. But he also acknowledged the significance of the record.
“Whenever an individual coaching honor occurs, it’s because of your players and your assistants and the infrastructure you build,” he said. “You’re just the recipient of a lot of good things then, because you’re the head of it. Good players and unselfish kids win a lot of ball games.”
You don’t get to 902 wins in college basketball without some blowouts like Saturday’s. Presbyterian, picked seventh in the Big South Conference preseason poll, couldn’t come close to matching Duke’s ability.
Krzyzewski rarely has lost games such as these because he gets his players fired up for lesser known opponents. Saturday was no different, as it didn’t take even a minute for Krzyzewski to show he was into the game.
After a bad toss on the opening tip led to the Blue Hose gaining possession, Krzyzewski immediately got up off the bench to speak to one of the referees.
“It was really the worst jump ball I’ve ever seen,” Krzyzewski said later, laughing. “I don’t know if there was a wind current that came in. I’ve never seen a jump ball where the scorekeeper had a better chance to hit it than the two guys jumping.”
Duke (2-0) used its superior size to overwhelm Presbyterian (1-1), with Kelly leading the way. Miles Plumlee contributed 13 points and 11 rebounds, and Mason Plumlee also scored 13 points as the Plumlees combined with Kelly to shoot 17-for-25 from the field.
As he passed a milestone, though, Krzyzewski was most pleased with Duke’s unselfishness. He enjoyed Austin Rivers’ extra pass to Quinn Cook for a 3-point basket and bragged that four of Rivers’ six assists came on 3-pointers.
“We were just so unselfish today,” Krzyzewski said. “We are not a selfish team, but at times we don’t see other people because we get immersed in what we’re doing individually. And that’s part of what a young team does.”
Watching his team get better meant more to Krzyzewski than any number. And that’s just one of the reasons he was able to get to 902, with 903 on the horizon.