It’s really nothing new for this Temple Owls basketball program. They’ve now beaten an AP Top-10 team for the fourth straight season with their 78-73 triumph over the fifth-ranked Duke Blue Devils.
Of course, neither team is what they will be come March…which for starters is…better.
In Temple’s case, they were missing two starters. In Duke’s case, they were missing the passion and intensity needed to defeat the Owls in their backyard. Then again, everyone gives the Blue Devils their best shot and everyone in that program should always prepare accordingly…especially when you come to Philadelphia on the coldest night of the season…when things are always at their warmest.
Duke HC Mike Krzyzewski will be peeling the paint off the walls of whatever room he gets his team into today after seeing Temple not only outrebound Duke but score as many points in the paint. The huge size advantage the Blue Devils had on paper was written in invisible ink once the game started and it became clear the Owls were not going to let a little thing like…size…get in their way.
Ten minutes into the first half, the two teams were on a combined pace to make 50+ turnovers. Yet, the shooting percentages were high also and the third-largest crowd for a college hoop game in the 15-year history of the Wells Fargo Center loved every frantic, frenetic second of it.
Eventually, the two teams stopped giving the ball away…and the game became one where every single possession felt like it was the most important one of the night.
Before the game Owls HC Fran Dunphy assisted in the presentation of a plaque to Coach K on behalf of the Temple family, honoring his lifetime, HOF contributions to the game of college basketball. Dunphy then help log another “L” onto Coach K’s career mark, claiming his first win over Krzyzewski in five tries since 2005 (one while at Penn).
Ultimately, the Owls just wanted this one more this night.
It is quite possible these squads will meet again come March.
It is certain they will be better then.
Let’s hope their paths cross one more time in 2012.