EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A quick look at Duke’s 90-67 win against Temple on Saturday.
Overview: History did not repeat itself, not even close. A year ago, Temple upset then-No. 3 Duke in Philadelphia. These are not those Blue Devils. If a Duke team can be a surprise, this one is, steamrolling through one of the toughest schedules in the nation and anyone that gets in the way. On Saturday, it was Temple’s turn. The Owls came into the game with a 6-0 record and looked like a decent team.
Then they played the Blue Devils. Temple couldn’t score and, worse, couldn’t stop Duke from scoring. Some of it was attributable to the Owls, sure, but most of the credit goes to the Blue Devils, whose offense runs so fluidly and efficiently it’s hard to contain.
Much will be made by Duke critics about the imbalance in the free throw shooting (29 to 4), but anyone who watched the game will know that is a lazy argument. The Blue Devils rolled the Owls, not because they got calls but because they played better and are better.
Turning point: Temple threatened to make it interesting early in the second half, closing to within 10, but Anthony Lee missed a jumper and Quinn Cook responded on a drive to the hoop. That started a 9-2 run for Duke that stretched the lead to 17. Temple continued to fight, but that lead was too big to overcome.
Key player: Injuries? What injuries? Technically, Seth Curry is still dealing with an old leg injury and a relatively new ankle tweak, but if the guard is feeling the effects, he’s not showing it. Curry scored 23 on torrid 7-for-11 shooting from the floor and 5-for-9 from beyond the arc, draining shots like he was in a game of H-O-R-S-E.
Key stat: Duke shot 12-for-20 from the 3-point line. Talk all you want about free throws; that’s a killer.
Miscellaneous: The game was played at the little-used Izod Center. Once the home of the Nets and Devils, it’s been left behind in the Meadowlands as both pro teams have moved to new homes -- the Nets to Brooklyn and the Devils to Newark. … Philadelphia might be geographically closer than Durham, but as is always the case when Duke comes to the greater New York-New Jersey area, the crowd was very pro Blue Devils. … Duke scored 44 in the first half, easily the most against Temple this season.
Next game: The Blue Devils, owners of one of the toughest schedules in the country, finally get a little bit of a reprieve. Duke takes an 11-day break before hosting Cornell on Dec. 19. … The Owls will host Towson on Wednesday, the same Towson team that kept Georgetown in check on Saturday.