No upset this time.
A year after the Duke lost to an unranked Temple squad, the No. 2 Blue Devils never let the Owls sniff victory in this one in a 90-67 victory. Duke built a double-digit lead early in the first half and never let Temple bring the margin within 10 the rest of the way.
Here’s your postgame breakdown:
Revisiting the three keys to the game:
- A more balanced rebounding effort. As always Plumlee led the rebounding effort for the Blue Devils, recording a double-double early in the second half. But Kelly also contributed with his first double-double of the season. Still, Duke got beaten on the offensive boards, which has become a trend this year. Duke pulled in 10 offensive boards while the Owls grabbed 13.
- Neutralizing Wyatt. Last year, Khalif Wyatt led the upset effort against Duke, going 8-of-12 from the field and hitting key buckets throughout the contest. This year he was 3-of-15 from the field with just six points. Duke has shut down some elite guards this season, with Wyatt and Ohio State’s Aaron Craft included. Quinn Cook has been praised for what he has done to the offense this year, but he has been tremendous on the perimeter defensively.
- Limiting turnovers. There’s no questioning Duke took excellent care of the ball. They turned it over only six times. End of story.
Three key plays of the game:
- 13:40, first half: With Duke holding a 13-10 lead in the early going, Tyler Thornton nailed an early 3-pointer off the bench, spurring an 11-2 run. The Blue Devils held a 24-12 lead after the run and held a double-digit lead for the rest of the half.
- 5:14, first half: The Blue Devils extended their first-half lead to 35-18 and appeared poised to run away with it. But Quenton DeCosey nailed a 3-pointer for the Owls, giving them a spark of life on the offensive end. He and Dalton Pepper went 4-of-5 from deep off the bench for Fran Dunphy’s squad in the first half, helping keep the Owls within reach.
- 12:06, second half: After the Blue Devils looked a bit sluggish to start the second half, with the Owls pulling within 10 and Coach K being forced to call a timeout, Duke went on a 15-4 run, building their first 20-point lead of the game. With 12:06 left in the half, Cook topped it off with a pretty 3-pointer to give Duke a 64-43 lead. Duke was absolutely relentless on both ends during the run—as good as they have looked this season, those might have been their most complete few minutes of basketball so far.
Three key stats:
- 23 points for Seth Curry: Dealing with a leg injury all season, Curry looked tired in Duke’s win against Ohio State, following three games in three days in the Battle 4 Atlantis. He was subsequently given the game against Delaware off. It paid off. He finished with an efficient offensive effort, going 7-of-11 from the field, including 5-of-9 from deep. He played both ways too. In one impressive second-half sequence, he nailed a 3-pointer then took a charge on the other end.
- Duke 12-of-20 from 3-point range. The Blue Devils made it rain from deep. Sometimes shooting well is a matter of chance, sometimes it’s a matter of getting open looks. Their ball movement today was as good as it has been all season, getting open looks for Curry and Cook, who combined to shoot 8-of-13 from long range.
- 22-of-29 Duke FTs, 1-of-4 Temple FTs: The Owls had to get physical in order to stop a number of Duke buckets, and the foul calls came in. The Blue Devils spent a lot of their game at the charity stripe, while Temple hardly earned any chances at the line. With Duke’s outside shooting ability, other teams really can’t afford to give them so many free points at the line. The Owls learned that lesson the hard way.
And the Duke game ball goes to … Quinn Cook. This could easily go to Curry for what he did on the offensive end, but what set everything up today was the pace of the offense and the ball movement. When that happens, credit goes to the floor general. Cook regularly found the open man, finishing with four assists. And when he saw the opportunity, he was able to score as well. He finished with 14 points and was nasty on the defensive end with four steals.
And the game ball goes to … Quenton DeCosey. With the Temple starting five struggling, the Owls got a boost from their bench. DeCosey was the only Owl to double-digit points, and he helped the Owls stay in it. He hit 3-of-3 3-pointers and 5-of-6 field goals overall. He finished with 13 points.