DURHAM, N.C. – Kyle Singler broke out of a slump by scoring 28 points to lead No. 1 Duke past No. 24 Temple 78-61 on Wednesday night.
Nolan Smith finished with 15 points and Mason Plumlee added 13 rebounds to help the ACC-leading Blue Devils (26-2) dodge a late-season nonconference letdown and pick up a significant victory in their return to the top spot in the national rankings. Duke used a huge run that bridged the halves to win its eighth straight overall and extend a pair of notable winning streaks at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Lavoy Allen scored 17 points, but Temple (21-6) had its eight-game winning streak snapped.
Singler was 10 of 19 in his most productive game since matching a career high with 30 points against Oregon. He helped Duke win its 35th straight game at Cameron and its 86th in a row against nonconference teams — both NCAA bests.
The senior had labored through a few recent pedestrian performances — at least by the lofty standards that come with being the Most Outstanding Player at last year's Final Four.
Singler, who averages 16 points for his career, was held to 3-of-17 shooting two weeks ago by rival North Carolina. Most recently, he had a career-worst 2-point outing last week against Virginia, and was just 5 of 14 last time out against Georgia Tech.
But by the time he checked out of this one in the final 2 minutes, the Cameron Crazies were chanting his name.
His big night came at quite the opportune time, in the next-to-last home game of his storied career and with the Blue Devils playing for the first time since reclaiming the No. 1 ranking they relinquished in mid-January.
For about a half, their nearly 11-year winning streak against non-ACC teams at Cameron was put to the test by a Temple team that frustrated Duke with tough team defense that in particular seemed to frustrate Smith, the ACC's leading scorer who was held to 5-of-17 shooting.
Seth Curry's 3 with 1 second left before the halftime buzzer started the 23-11 run that gave the Blue Devils their first double-figure lead, then put them in total control.
Curry connected from long range 1½ minutes into the second half to make it a 10-point game, Smith followed with five consecutive points and Plumlee finished the burst with a dunk in the post and an alley-oop from Curry to stretch the lead to 51-35 with 12½ minutes remaining. Temple didn't get closer than 12 after that.
Rahlir Jefferson added 11 points for the Owls, who once again played without forward Scootie Randall — who missed his second straight game with an injured right foot after averaging 18 points in his previous six games. That's in addition to the absence of 6-foot-11 big man Micheal Eric, who's lost for the season with a broken right kneecap.
Singler scored 12 points during a first half in which neither team led by more than seven and the Owls forced Duke to go more than 5 minutes between field goals. Curry put the Blue Devils up 31-24 at the break when he rattled in a 3 off a pretty kick-out from Smith.