Duke wins battle of unbeatens
Temple coach Fran Dunphy gave away something about how he likes to watch tape, especially after losses.
”I’m a bit of a knucklehead when it comes to watching film after a loss,” he said Saturday after the Owls lost 90-67 to No. 2 Duke at the Izod Center.
”We’ll watch every single play because we can learn something from every single play,” he said.
The film could wear away.
It wasn’t that the Owls (6-1) looked terrible in their first loss of the season. It was that Duke (9-0) looked like a veteran team that is ranked only behind Indiana in the AP Top 25.
Seth Curry scored 23 points and big men Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly had double-doubles as Duke prevailed in the matchup of unbeatens.
Curry was 5-for-9 from 3-point range, leading Duke’s 12-for-20 effort from behind the arc.
”Curry was great today,” Dunphy said. ”He stepped up and did what he had to do. When we were just sniffing to get back in it, he hit some tough shots. That’s a fabulous team and a fabulous coach.”
Quenton DeCosey had 13 points for the Owls, who were looking for their best start since going 14-0 in 1987-88, a season that ended with a regional weekend loss to Duke in the Izod Center.
”I thought their defense was really good and we added to it by rushing,” Dunphy said. ”We got out of character and didn’t have the patience we needed. When you play a team like Duke you have to manage every possession and we didn’t today. Our guys played hard and we were a little bit scared early. We got some nervousness going for us early and that put us on our heels a little bit.”
Dunphy was asked about Duke’s ability to dominate down low and yet the Owls took just four free throws – made one – in the game.
”We’re not a pound it down type of team,” he said. ”We’re a team that dribbles and kicks out and we can’t get out of character. This will be a big help to us as we go forward.”
This is the 15th 9-0 start for Duke under Mike Krzyzewski, who has won four national championships and two Olympic gold medals with the U.S. national team.
”I couldn’t expect to be 9-0,” he said. ”I have dealt with unrealistic expectations since 1986. I deal with them every summer with the U.S. team. It’s a good place to be. I’d rather have people expect something of you than not expect something good of you.
”We’re a beatable team. We just haven’t been beat yet. With our conference we’ll be tested a lot.”
Curry injured his left ankle in the win over Ohio State and he hasn’t been able to go at full strength in practice, but everything seems OK in games.
”He had good hard practices yesterday and the day before,” Krzyzewski said. ”When he gets going we have to call stuff for him and we did.”
The Owls got within 12 points twice late, the last at 72-60 with 6:38 left on a basket by Jake O’Brien.
After a free throw by Plumlee, Curry scored the next seven points for Duke, the last a 3-pointer with 3:38 left that gave the Blue Devils their first 20-point lead, 80-60.
Plumlee finished with 16 points – the first time he was below 19 this season – and 14 rebounds. Kelly had 14 points and 10 rebounds for Duke (9-0), while Quinn Cook added 14 points and made three 3s.
Duke hadn’t played since last Saturday and with final exams coming up, the Blue Devils don’t play again for 11 days.
”I think it shows we’re pretty mature,” Curry said of the week off. ”We’ve been off all week and we came out and played with the same aggressiveness, the same way we’ve been playing the first few weeks of the season. We knew we had a good team, but this team could beat us. We knew we had to come out here and play well.”
The Blue Devils have three wins this season over teams ranked in the top four: No. 3 Kentucky, No. 2 Louisville and No. 4 Ohio State.
Duke shot 51.9 percent (14-for-27) and held the Owls to 35.9 percent (14-for-39) on the way to a 46-32 halftime lead. The Blue Devils made 12 of 16 foul shots in the opening 20 minutes, while Temple didn’t get to the line at all.
Duke, which came in being outrebounded 36.2-35.2, again had trouble on the boards. The Owls grabbed 10 offensive rebounds in the first half and had a 19-17 advantage overall.
The Blue Devils shot 47.5 percent for the game (28-for-59) and held the Owls to 39.7 percent (29-of-73), including 8-of-21 from 3-point range.
Duke is 20-1 at the Izod Center under Krzyzewski and the winning streak is now at 12 games.
The Blue Devils are 10-0 in the NCAA tournament here, all regionals that led to Final Four berths. Their only loss in the building under Krzyzewski was 77-75 to Arizona on Feb. 28, 1989.
”I don’t talk to the team about it because they don’t know and they don’t care about it,” Krzyzewski said.
He did say what happens when he walks in the building for the first time after not having been here in a year or two.
”I see (Christian) Laettner hitting a jumper off a side out of bounds play,” he said. ”I see (David) Henderson dunking over (Alonzo) Mourning. I see J.J. (Redick) going for 100. I see a lot of great things in the building and today will be another one. There are no gimmees here. These are all big-time games.”
Duke has a record of 113-16 when it is ranked No. 2.
The game drew a crowd of 12,157.