Final Score: Duke 90, Temple 67
Twitter recap: Duke shoots lights out, stifles Wyatt. Plumlee, Kelly post quiet double-doubles. Temple starters just quiet. Nothing quiet about Curry’s 23.
Home away from home. The Blue Devils improve to 20-1 in East Rutherford (NJ), their last loss in the Garden State coming in the late 80s. New Jersey is a heavily saturated Duke alumni base—inasmuch as some folks have jokingly nicknamed the university the “State College of New Jersey at Durham”—so it’s only appropriate that Coach K’s teams have flourished in the region over the years. The last time Duke strolled into its familiar stomping grounds in the swamp, then-star point guard Kyrie Irving left with a mysterious toe injury that sidelined him until the NCAA tournament. No Blue Devil was hurt this time around, which is a victory no less significant than the 23-point thrashing itself.
Quiet Wyatt. The Temple star, who torched Duke for 22 points (8-12 FG) during last year’s upset win over the Blue Devils in Philly, managed just 6 points on 3-15 shooting in his encore performance. Wyatt and Owls co-leader Scootie Randall combined to score just 12 points on 6-of-24 shooting (they came into the game averaging 32 points between them). Anthony Lee wasn’t much better, notching just 6 points of his own on 3-8 shooting from the floor. That formula won’t work against top-flight A-10 competition, never mind against Duke.
Offensive clinic. Duke’s high-low game was working to a T on Saturday. Even though Mason Plumlee didn’t have the touch offensively, his presence alone drew extra attention from Owl defenders and, in turn, freed up open shooters on the perimeter. Seth Curry was quick to capitalize, posting a game-high 23 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the floor. Duke as a team shot a blistering 60-percent (12-20) from long range. There are very few basic formulas better suited for a high-scoring attack than a star center surrounded by capable shooters and a dynamic floor general who spreads the ball where it needs to go.
Quinn Cook. Speaking of dynamic floor generals, Duke’s got a good one itself. Cook had another strong performance (14 points, 4 assists, 4 rebounds and 4 steals to go with just one turnover) to help spearhead the Blue Devils offense. As importantly, Cook was a gnat on the defensive side of the ball, where he’s much improved from a season ago.