This is Duke’s only game in a 17-day span. It appears to be the
only potentially tough one for quite a bit longer than that.
Temple beat the Blue Devils last season and certainly could
provide a challenge to the nation’s second-ranked team Saturday in
a matchup of unbeatens in East Rutherford, N.J.
“This will be a good one. We’re gonna play an undefeated Temple
team with three kids that really hurt us last year who are all
back,” coach Mike Krzyzewski told Duke’s official website.
This game is at the same arena where the Blue Devils defeated
Temple in the 1999 NCAA tournament to start a nine-game win streak
in this series. The Owls halted that run with a 78-73 home victory
Jan. 4 over a Duke team that was ranked fifth.
It marked the fourth straight season Temple (6-0) has upset a
top 10 team.
“I think for these guys it gives them a jolt of confidence that
we all need that we can play at the highest level,” coach Fran
While Temple plays three top 10 opponents in its next eight
games, the Blue Devils (8-0) don’t face a ranked team in their next
seven. Their only three remaining games in December are at home
against lesser competition – Cornell, Elon and Santa Clara.
They’ve had a week off since beating Delaware 88-50 last
Saturday and will get a 10-day break after this matchup.
“We’ll see how we handle this break from competition,”
Temple did have a much tougher time with the teams’ one common
opponent, holding off Delaware 80-75 on Nov. 25.
That’s the only time the senior-laden Owls have allowed more
than 66 points, but they’re facing a Duke offense averaging 78.8
points and shooting 48.1 percent.
Mason Plumlee has led the way, ranking second in the ACC with
19.6 points per game while averaging a conference-best 11.0
rebounds. He’s the only player in the country averaging at least 18
points and 10 boards while shooting better than 60 percent
“You’re not gonna stop him from doing the things that he does,”
Dunphy said. “… You just wanna limit what the damage that he
The 6-foot-10 senior could have a big advantage against a Temple
team with only two regulars – starter Anthony Lee and fellow 6-9
forward Jake O’Brien – who are taller than 6-6. Plumlee had 16
points and 13 boards in last season’s meeting while big brother
Miles – also 6-10 and now in the NBA – scored 17.
The Plumlees couldn’t make up for the lack of production from
Ryan Kelly and Seth Curry, who accounted for 11 points. Curry,
averaging 15.1 points this season, is expected to return after
missing the Delaware game with an injured ankle. Kelly stepped up
with a season-high 18 points, and he’s 5 for 9 from 3-point range
over the last two games.
Scootie Randall tops the Owls with 16.7 points per game after
scoring 21 and hitting 5 3-pointers in a 76-61 win over Villanova
Fellow senior Khalif Wyatt shot a season-worst 4 of 16 as part
of an up-and-down campaign in which he’s averaged 15.2 points. He’s
been held below double figures twice – the same number as all of
last season, when he averaged 17.1.
While Wyatt scored 22 in January’s win over Duke, senior Rahlir
Hollis-Jefferson added 17 but enters the rematch having not reached
double figures in three straight games.
The Owls are off to their best start since opening 14-0 in
“Overall, they believe they can win,” Krzyzewski said, “and they
win most of the time.”