Both Duke and Temple entered Friday night’s contest undefeated and looking for a statement win in a four team tournament. The Coaches vs. Cancer Classic featured both teams as well as NCAA Tournament regulars in UNLV and Stanford.
With Stanford routing the Runnin’ Rebels in the first contest, the prime-time matchup between the Owls and the Blue Devils was about to unfold in the Barclays Center.
Duke started out of the gates early taking advantage of PG Will Cummings’ inefficiencies with turnovers. The Blue Devils opened with a 9-2 run with four turnovers forced on the Owls.
SG Quinton DeCosey and Texas transfer Jaylen Bond both added field goals cutting the lead to five with 11:29 to go in the first. Freshmen Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow were a two man show in the first half for the number four team in the nation. Both tallied eight in the first half and never gave hope to the Owls’ faithful packing the Barclays Center.
Temple failed to build on their early five point deficit and had 10 turnovers. Down 10 at the break, the Owls were keeping distance with the heavy favorites. Whatever coach Fran Dunphy told the team at halftime didn’t click with the young group.
Both teams stalled early on in the second half with Temple connecting on only one field goal in the first five minutes. Duke looked to accelerate the advantage and the talent they featured had no difficulty. Okafor was a dominant beast in the low post on Devontae Watson and tore him apart in the second half after struggling early.
DeCosey and SF Daniel Dingle went to the hole after the cold spell and delivered two layups for Temple to cut the lead to 15 with 13:55 to play. Cummings, after the Duke lead ballooned to 22 at one point, got the Owls back to 14 down with five minutes to go.
Duke went to the line multiple times throughout the latter part of the game and PG Quinn Cook drove for a layup while the Owls once again settled for jumpers beyond the perimeter. Duke ended up taking the affair 74-54 in a game that was controlled throughout by the Blue Devils.
The Owls were stout defensively holding Duke to only 39.1% on field goals while making Okafor shoot 20 times. Turnovers, however, were the achilles heel with 17 and eight from Cummings. Only going 1-12 behind the arc doesn’t help as well.
Temple (2-1) will face UNLV for 3rd place in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic while Duke matches up with Stanford.