DURHAM NC - FEBRUARY 09: Head coach Mike Krzyzewski of the Duke Blue Devils yells to his team during their game against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Cameron Indoor Stadium on February 9 2011 in Durham North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
1 Total Update since February 23, 2011
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DURHAM, NC - Not many people gave the Owls much of a chance to knock off top-ranked Duke in Cameron Indoor Stadium on Wednesday night but there was a sentiment that they might be able to hang with the Blue Devils long enough to put a scare into them.
The Owls lasted about 21 minutes before succumbing to the much ballyhooed 'Duke run' as the Blue Devils blew the game open in the second half and went on to win comfortably, 78-61.
The win marked Duke's 86th in a row against non-conference opponents at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The last non-ACC team to win in Cameron was St. John's on Feb. 26, 2000. This victory was Duke's 35th straight win at home, the nation's longest active streak.
Temple gained the lead on five separate occasions in the game's opening minutes but a pair of successful free throws by freshman guard Tyler Thornton with 11:29 remaining put the Blue Devils ahead for good, 12-11.
The Owls hung tough and were within four points in the half's waning moments but a long 3-pointer by Seth Curry with one second remaining pushed Duke's lead to 31-24 and seemed to take some of the wind out of Temple's sails.
Rahlir Jefferson scored 10 of his 11 points in the first half. The sophomore forward played all 40 minutes and stuffed the stat sheet in the process as he had six assists, five rebounds, two blocks and a steal.
Lavoy Allen put forth a great effort under the bright lights as he notched his seventh double-double of the season thanks to a 17-point, 12-rebound effort. Like Jefferson, Allen played practically the whole game and did well to stay out of foul trouble.
Part of the reason why Allen and Jefferson had to play the entire game was because of injuries to Micheal Eric (knee) and Scootie Randall (foot). The Owls ran with a seven man rotation thanks to the lack of options off the bench which ultimately led to them being worn down by Duke's superior depth in the second half.
The Blue Devils started the second frame on a 7-2 run that pushed their lead to 12 points with 17:40 remaining, 38-26. The Owls never truly threatened at any point in the second half and fell behind by as many as 19.
Duke took advantage of Temple's lack of size as they pounded the ball down low at every opportunity. Kyle Singler broke out of his recent mini-slump by establishing himself near the basket. The career 37 percent 3-point shooter took 19 shots with only one of them coming from beyond the arc. Most of his baskets came when against overmatched and undersized defenders such as T.J. DiLeo.
The senior from Medford, OR scored a game-high 28 points.
The high scoring trio of Juan Fernandez, Ramone Moore and Khalif Wyatt struggled as they scored a total of 22 points on 7-of-26 shooting. Fernandez, who shot roughly 70 percent in the team's two previous contests, was particularly ineffective tonight as he went just 2 of 10 overall from the field.
As a team, the Owls shot 39.3 percent (24 of 61).
Though Fran Dunphy is not the type to celebrate moral victories, it must comforting to know that his team, as shorthanded as they are currently, has the ability to compete with the very best in the country as evidenced by the first half. Replicating that effort for a full game in March should be enough to finally get the Owls over the first round hump they have been stuck at.
Until then, Temple will have to go out and take care of business as they enter the home stretch of their march to Atlantic City. They will play a George Washington team on Saturday that is fighting to host an opening round game at the Charles E. Smith Center.
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7:00 PM February 23, 2011
Cameron Indoor Stadium Durham, NC
Duke leads the season 17-9. They are 7-1 at home against the Owls and have won the last eight games overall. Temple has not beaten Duke since Jan. 25, 1996 and the first and only time they won in Durham was Jan. 8, 1949.
1/9/2008 - Dionte Christmas scored 23 points and Mark Tyndale had 20 in a losing effort to the #7/9 Blue Devils at the Wachovia Center. Lavoy Allen, the only current Owl that played in that game, scored four points, pulled down six rebounds and blocked four shots in 29 minutes. Duke's current leading scorer, Nolan Smith, had six points and four rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench while Kyle Singler scored eight. The Owls were within 8 with 8:01 remaining but were unable to get the stops necessary to chip into the lead anymore.
Record at Temple: 105-54 (5th season)
All-Time Record: 453-217 (21st season)
Record at Duke: 820-222 (31st season)
All-Time Record: 893-281 (36th season)
PPG: G Nolan Smith - 21.7
RPG: F Mason Plumlee - 8.7
APG: G Nolan Smith - 5.3
Lavoy Allen F - 10.7 ppg. 7.2 rpg. 1.6 bpg.
Rahlir Jefferson F - 5.6 ppg. 5.1 rpg. .594 fg%
Aaron Brown G - 2.2 ppg. 0.9 rpg 6.7 mpg.
Ramone Moore G - 15.4 ppg. 4.3 rpg. 3.2 apg.
Juan Fernandez G - 10.2 ppg. 3.0 rpg. 4.0 apg
Mason Plumlee F - 7.3 ppg. 8.7 rpg. 1.6 bpg.
Kyle Singler F - 16.8 ppg. 6.3 rpg. 34.0 mpg.
Ryan Kelly F - 6.7 ppg. 3.9 rpg. 1.6 bpg.
Nolan Smith G - 21.7 ppg. 4.8 rpg. 5.3 apg.
Seth Curry G - 9.0 ppg. 1.8 rpg. 2.1 apg.
Temple (66-52 victory at Dayton)
From the Associated Press:
Lavoy Allen was thrilled former Temple greats were in attendance and honored at halftime for their Hall of Fame careers. He then grabbed a rebound to remember that etched his name in team history.
Allen had 12 rebounds and became Temple's career leader in that category in the Owls' 66-52 win over Saint Joseph's on Sunday.
Allen scored 14 points for the Owls (No. 25 ESPN/USA Today, No. 23 AP) and passed John Baum on the school's career rebounding list. Baum, Temple's radio analyst, grabbed 1,042 rebounds in only three seasons. Allen, a 6-foot-9 senior forward, helped the Owls (21-5, 11-2 Atlantic 10) win their eighth straight game overall and ninth straight over their city-rival Hawks.
"I just tried to get every rebound that I can," Allen said.
Allen, who has 1,045 rebounds, set the record on a weekend former Temple greats Eddie Jones, Aaron McKie and Rick Brunson were inducted into the school's athletics' Hall of Fame. Former coach John Chaney, a Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer, watched from press row as Allen placed his name atop the leaderboard.
Duke (79-56 victory against Georgia Tech)
From the Associated Press:
Singler bounced back from his worst game of the season, a two-point performance against Virginia. His jumper 10 seconds into the second half gave Duke its first double-digit lead, 39-28, and prolonged the run that followed Krzyzewski's technical foul.
"When that happened, it really gave our team energy," said freshman guard Tyler Thornton, whose foul call precipitated the whistle on Krzyzewski. "That's really when the game turned around and we started getting more defensive stops and started getting out on the break, so that really was the turning point for us."
Duke outscored Georgia Tech 54-22 during the roughly 21 minutes that followed that "T." By the time Seth Curry hit a free throw to make it 67-40 with 9:12 left, the Blue Devils were well on their way to their NCAA-best 34th straight win at Cameron Indoor Stadium -- where Georgia Tech has only won once since 1996.
Smith, the ACC leader in scoring and assists, was 10 of 20 with four 3-pointers while reaching the 20-point mark for the league-best 16th time this season. He helped Duke shoot 45 percent -- 50 percent in the second half -- and win a rematch of last year's conference championship game and claim a matchup of the ACC's best and worst shooting teams.
Well, the good news (if you want to call it that) is that the Owls do not have much to lose tomorrow night. No one is really giving them much of a shot to do the impossible and end Duke's insane 85 game out of conference home winning streak. If they win tomorrow then they will most likely get a nice bump in the national rankings and if they lose then they will drop out. Simple as that.
A loss though won't have much of an impact on the Owls' NCAA tournament hopes as they are practically a lock barring a monumental collapse. Let's pretend for a moment that the Owls have a decent shot of winning tomorrow (Kenpom gives them a nine percent chance of winning). How can they win? With their suffocating defense, of course.
The problem with that is that Duke's defense is statistically better than Temple's (86.0 defensive efficiency compared to the Owls' 91.5) and their guards are the driving force behind the nation's seventh ranked offense (83.0 points per game). The Blue Devils are also adept at shooting the three-pointer as they are tied for 18th in the country with a .389 three-point shooting percentage.
Seniors Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler are the driving forces this squad as they average 21.7 and 16.8 points per game respectively. The Owls actually dodged a pretty significant bullet as super freshman Kyrie Irving is still rehabbing his injured toe. The 6-2 guard out of Elizabeth, NJ averaged 17.4 points and 5.1 assists through Duke's first eight contests. Don't feel too bad for the Dukies if he decides to bolt, though, as they have five star guard Austin Rivers and four star guard Quinn Cook coming in next season. Must be nice.
Oh, and Duke has a ton of size that they can throw at the undermanned Owls. Most A10 teams have one or two guys 6-9 or taller. Duke has four: Ryan Kelly (6-11), Mason and Miles Plumlee (6-10) and little used reserve Todd Zafirovski (6-9). Josh Hairston (6-7) and Singler (6-8) also pose significant matchup problems for the Owls.
On top of its high powered offense, Duke ranks among the nation's elite in terms of rebounding (34th - 38.3), assists (41st - 15.2), field goal percentage (24th - .475) and steals (39th - 8.15). It's no surprise that once again Coach K has put together an extremely well-rounded team.
Temple is a 14 point underdog and I think that sounds about right. The Owls have the ability to hang with Duke for a while but the cream ultimately rises to the top. The Owls are a quality team but Duke is definitely a class above. Honestly, I'm hoping for a good showing on national television. Duke 74, Temple 61
BONUS PREDICTION: ESPN2 color analyst Bob Knight will wax poetic about the shot fake at least a half dozen times.