Brooklyn, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - The semifinal round of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at the Barclays Center closes out on Friday evening, as the fourth-ranked Duke Blue Devils take on the Temple Owls.
The winner of this game will take on either UNLV or Stanford for the tournament title on Saturday.
Mike Krzyzewski's Blue Devils came into the season with a ton of hype thanks in large part to a superior recruiting class that included a number of McDonald's All-Americans. Those youngsters have already paid immediate dividends, as Duke has opened the 2014-15 campaign with three straight wins, including an 81-71 victory over powerhouse Michigan State on Tuesday as part of the Champions Classic in Indianapolis, IN.
Although not boasting of quite the same fanfare coming into the season, Fran Dunphy's Owls are also sporting an undefeated record to date. Temple opened the season with an ugly 40-37 victory over American and followed that with Monday's 82-75 decision against Louisiana Tech.
Duke has won 10 of the last 11 meetings with Temple to take a 19-10 lead in the all-time series. The most recent matchup came in December of 2012, a 90-67 rout by the Blue Devils.
The Owls have shown two different personalities in the first two games. The opener was a defensive struggle with American, while the second game provided much more fireworks against Louisiana Tech. As a result, the team is averaging just 61.0 ppg and doing so on a mere .330 shooting. The team has really struggled from long range, converting just 9-of-31 3-point attempts (.290). Despite the rather mediocre numbers, Temple does have four players currently with double-figure scoring averages. Will Cummings leads the way at 13.5 ppg. Daniel Dingle (11.0 ppg), Quenton DeCosey (11.0 ppg) and Josh Brown (10.5 ppg) are solid in support.
After shooting an atrocious .229 from the floor against American, Temple upped it to a more respectable .431 against Louisiana Tech. Cummings and DeCosey were quite the one-two punch against the Ragin' Cajuns, netting 20 points apiece. Brown poured in 17 points off the bench, while Dingle managed 11. Mark Williams only had four points, but grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds in the win.
Duke has had no such problems offensively. The Blue Devils are averaging a whopping 101.0 ppg through three games, doing so on a gaudy .602 shooting percentage that includes a .478 effort from behind the arc. Top recruit Jahlil Okafor has lived up to the hype in the early going, as the big freshman is shooting .833 from the floor (25-of-30) and leads the team with 17.7 ppg. Senior guard Quinn Cook is both a potent scorer (16.7 ppg) and deft distributor (5.0 apg). Freshmen Justise Winslow (16.0 ppg) and Tyus Jones (12.7 ppg, 5.3 apg) add more than enough scoring depth.
The Blue Devils shot .540 from the floor overall and .500 from 3-point range (7-of-14) in the 10-point win over the Spartans earlier in the week. Cook led four Blue Devils in double figures with 19 points. He also doled out a team- best six assists in the win. Jones and Okafor poured in 17 points apiece, while Winslow added 15.