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Temple Basketball: Owls Face Tall Test Against Top Ranked Blue Devils

#24 Temple Owls (21-5, 11-2 A10) @ #1 Duke Blue Devils (25-2, 12-1 ACC)

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.

- 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.


Fran Dunphy
Record at Temple: 105-54 (5th season)
All-Time Record: 453-217 (21st season)

Mike Krzyzewski
Record at Duke: 820-222 (31st season)
All-Time Record: 893-281 (36th season)


PPG: G Ramone Moore - 15.4
RPG: F Lavoy Allen - 7.2
APG: G Juan Fernandez - 4.0

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.