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Cameron Becomes Temple Of Doom!

Temple started out beautifully on Tuesday night in Cameron, but after a
while, Duke raised their game to Temple's level and beyond, and ended up winning
73-55. But for a while, it was hard to see how Duke would end up in
control of the game.

Temple went up 6-2 and after Jon Scheyer fouled Dionte Christmas on a three
point attempt, he converted all three free throws and Temple went up 9-2.
They pushed it up to 16-4 before Duke really responded. And Temple
maintained a decent lead until the under-eight time out.

When Spanish big man Sergio Olmos picked up his third foul, Duke immediately
began to surge, and a lot of the credit went to Brian Zoubek. Zoubek only
played 13 minutes, but he was incredibly productive in that time. He scored
twice quickly, moved beautifully, and played with real energy and
determination. Zoubek really showed his potential, and it was fun to

Duke ended up leading at the half, 35-28, and the game was essentially
done. Temple started beautifully, but it's still a team built around John
Chaney's very conservative approach. His teams always played a slow pace,
walked the ball up quite often, and relied on the zone exclusively.

Not so this team.

Temple ran when they could, shot the ball with pinache (even when they didn't
make it, they took significantly more chances than a Chaney team took; in fact,
on several plays, we're guessing guys would have been pulled last year).

They played a good bit of man defense, although they fell into a zone and
played it for most of the second half.

But the main thing was, as much as we respected John Chaney, his occasional
lunatic moment aside, his program had gotten musty. They might struggle
this year, but the windows are open and the rooms have been dusted. It's a
pleasure to watch Fran Dunphy's team.

He also is, we think, a pretty good scout, or maybe he hired one.
Whatever. His team knew exactly how to counter DeMarcus Nelson's forays to
the hoop. In the first half, almost every drive was stopped, and the ball
was either slapped loose or his progress was stopped. Dunphy has taught
his team help defense well.

Temple's interior defense was part of the overall problem in the beginning of
the game when Duke couldn't seem to hold onto the ball. They kept forcing
the ball inside, and Temple kept pushing it right back out again.

But as we said, the game changed once Olmos got his third foul, and Duke's
surge began. And there was a lot to like.

Josh McRoberts continues to develop into one of the most interesting big men
we've seen in awhile. He did some very cool things in this game. In
a way, it's almost a shame he's not in the Princeton offense, because there are
time when he's passing out of the high post when he's just on fire. He
caught a bunch of guys coming off of screens or just losing their man, and he
got them the ball. He ended up with a career high 21 points, four blocks,
four assists, and nine boards.

He also took Olmos (we think) deep into the corner, got into triple-threat
position, and faked him off his feet before driving by him. Then there
were the behind the back dribble and passes, the jumphook, the muscle under the

He's really emerging quickly now, and watching him over the course of the
season is going to be fun.

Nelson kept driving although pretty clearly Temple understood his game
there. But though he showed some visible frustration, he hit the boards
and also played a couple of stretches of nearly perfect defense.

In one sequence, we watched him switch back and forth between two Temple
players, falling back, going forward, and when the pass finally went over him,
it went over his fingertips. It's easy to see a one-on-one macho stop, but
seeing him work through the switches and then seeing the ball just slide over
his fingertips...the guy was amazing. He was just brilliant defensively.

Jon Scheyer seemed a bit off offensively, which figures, since the whole team
was at the beginning of the game. But he's a very heady player, and he's
catching on fast. We couldn't quite see his foul on the three point shot,
but it looked as if he stumbled into Christmas, which is unfortunate, but things

We did notice at one point that he was waiting for the game to come to
him. We wish someone would drag out some old footage of Gene "Tinkerbell"
Banks for the young players to watch. Banks never stood still for a
second; he was constantly bouncing, darting to and fro. They called him
Tinkerbell for a reason. Lots of young players forget to move, but it's a
great lesson to learn. If you have the stamina to keep moving, your
opportunities go up sharply.

Dave McClure got the start over Gerald Henderson, and while he arguably makes
an almost perfect sixth man, in many ways he is playing better than
Henderson. He continues to do the simple, smal things: getting a
couple of steps closer to the basket, coming up with another rebound (he had 12), getting
his hand in on defense. He's become a really valuable player rather
quickly. He would have been immensely helpful last season. It's
really too bad. But he's making up for it now.

Like just about everyone, Greg Paulus started the game somewhat erratically,
but began to make up for it. He had a few bursts which were on par with
his Gonzaga game. Injuries are still holding him back, but he's starting
to show why Coach K coveted him. If you didn't see it, try to catch his over the
shoulder blind pass to Nelson, who took it in for easy points. When the kid is
at his best, he has Wojo's intensity and Hurley's daring.

Although his game wasn't up to his recent standards, we can see why Christmas
has been so solid this year. Yes, he's quick. Yes, he can
shoot. Yes, he can jump. But he's got another talent, a very simple
one which a lot of players never figure out: he knows how to get in your
blind spot and make you turn your head. Once you do that, once your
opponent starts to look for you and can't find you, you're open.

The best we've ever seen at it was Jim Spanarkel, who would slide back and
forth, and when he vanished, the other player would look around. Spanarkel
wasn't the fastest guy in the world, but he knew how to get a head start.
So does Christmas.

Marty Pocius played six minutes, but didn't score.

As poorly as the game opened, though, by the second half, Duke showed some of
its best stuff: on defense, everyone was pressuring the opponent and
getting some easy attempts (they missed a lot of these unfortunately). The
passing at times was just gorgeous, and by the end, lots of easy baskets were