No Sympathy For The Devil

Beating Top 10 teams has become an annual occurrence for the Temple's men's basketball program. Beating Duke – that's a rarity. But on Wednesday night, the Owls shocked the No. 5/No. 3 ranked Blue Devils in front of a sold-out Wells Fargo Center crowd, 78-73, for the first win over the prominent program in 10 meetings and 16 years.

Beating Top 10 teams has become an annual occurrence for the Temple's men's basketball program.

Beating Duke – that's a rarity.

But on Wednesday night, the Owls shocked the No. 5/No. 3 ranked Blue Devils in front of a sold-out Wells Fargo Center crowd, 78-73, for the first win over the prominent program in 10 meetings and 16 years.

The victory follows up statement wins over No. 8 Tennessee (2008-2009), No. 3 Villanova (2009-2010) and No. 9 Georgetown (2010-2011). It also improved the Owls to 10-3 this season heading into Atlantic 10 Conference play and dropped the Blue Devils to 12-2.

"I don't think it's hit me yet," said senior guard Ramone Moore, one of five Owls in double figures with 11 points. "It's a great win. It means a lot, but it's something we believed we could do."

There certainly were some doubters coming into the game after Temple struggled to beat Buffalo and Delaware last week, shooting under 40 percent in both games. But on Wednesday – with Khalif Wyatt's 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting leading the way – Temple shot 56.4 percent from the floor and took just 10 threes, hitting five, in a well-executed game plan.

"Coach (Fran) Dunphy emphasized managing the game and keeping it at our pace," said Wyatt. "We really did a good job of carrying it out."

While the Owls weren't living behind the three-point line like they have been recently, Wyatt hit a couple big ones. With Temple clinging to a 60-57 lead, Moore found Wyatt on the right wing for a three-pointer with 4:42 to play.

"I heard him call my name," said Moore. "I was kind of off-balance, and Khalif had it going on. Whoever is hot we should put the ball in that person's hands, and tonight was Khalif's night."

The next trip down the floor, Wyatt took aim from well beyond the arc and found nothing but net to push the lead to nine with four minutes to go.

"(Andre) Dawkins was guarding me and I just eyed him up and made a big shot," said Wyatt. "Every night it's not going to go in, but tonight I was making shots. They isoed it for me, I know I can shoot from deep. I just shot it."

Said Dunphy: "(Wyatt) has huge. … courage. He has no fear and that's what you need."

The Owls were just as good on the defensive end, even though the Blue Devils took advantage of Temple's lack of size – injured center Micheal Eric won't return until the end of the month – as Mason and Miles Plumlee combined for 33 points and 17 rebounds.

But freshman guard and leading scorer Austin Rivers scored 12 points on 3-of-11 shooting, while Seth Curry and Ryan Kelly combined for 11 points, seven shots and six turnovers.

"We wanted to take away the three and run them off the three-point line a little bit," said Dunphy. "I thought we defended pretty well most of the game. The Plumlee brothers were a little bit much for us, but you go in thinking if they beat you up inside, it will prevent them from going on killer runs. That's what they do. You feel you're in good shape, and they go on a 10-0 run."

Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson followed Wyatt in the scoring column with 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting and freshman center Anthony Lee continued to blossom with 11 points and seven rebounds. Even though they were outsized, the Owls out-rebounded Duke, 32-29, and grabbed 11 offensive rebounds.

"Since Mike has been hurt, those guys have been playing pretty tough," said Moore. "They're undersized. We ask them to do a lot, and as guards we try to help defensively, but they came up big."

Juan Fernandez had just four points and seven turnovers, but also contributed six assists, including a gorgeous behind-the-back pass to Hollis-Jefferson, who then fed Aaron Brown (11 points) for a backdoor layup and 71-63 lead with 1:33 to play.

Temple took a 35-33 lead into the half and never trailed the rest of the way.

"Their perimeter controls the tempo of the game," said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski. "We obviously didn't play very well, but that doesn't take away from how they played. They played really well.

"They played with great toughness, camaraderie. They just out-played us."

Fran Dunphy:

Ramone Moore/Khalif Wyatt:

Mike Krzyzewski:

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