His energy spent after 43 minutes of virtually non-stop activity on the floor at Cameron Indoor Stadium, Phil Henderson slumped into a folding chair.
Patiently, Henderson answered questions about his performance in Duke's 85-82 overtime decision over N.C. State. The totals were impressive - 25 points, seven rebounds, even a blocked shot. Four of those points came in the crucial overtime, but then ``I want to shoot it in crunch time,' the veteran said.``(If) you have a shooter's mentality,' he admitted, ``you always think it will drop.'
But Henderson's comments were of the all-in-a-day's work variety. He showed little emotion.
That is, until a reporter mentioned that N.C. State guard Rodney Monroe, his responsibility on defense for much of those 43 minutes, had endured a 6-for-26 shooting night.
``I'll have to look at the tape,' he said. ``When you're running up and down the court, you're not analyzing things. You don't think, 'I'm having a great game.'
``Regardless of whether I score two points or 25 points, I'm happy if we win.'
Wednesday night's win came only after what Henderson called a ``gut check.' Alaa Abdelnaby was ``so sick he couldn't breathe,' Henderson said. The inside game suffered, as N.C. State's Brian D'Amico picked up a career-high 15 points.
But with the exception of one short stretch, Monroe wasn't able to find his groove - and Henderson was a big reason for that. State's leading scorer was 0-for-5 from three-point range and although he finished with 19 points, Henderson made him work for everything he got. However, the native of University Park, Ill., maintains that he didn't dwell on the one-on-one matchup between two of the league's premier guards.
``I gauge my game on how our team plays offensively and defensively,' Henderson said. ``Just because I am playing Rodney Monroe doesn't pump me up more. Team recognition gives individual recognition.'