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Duke Defeats Temple 74-54

Duke and Temple played a passionate game where no one could hit very much. But it was still an interesting game.

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Nov 21, 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Justise Winslow (12) drives the lane in front of Temple Owls guard Quenton DeCosey (25) during the first half at Barclays Center
Nov 21, 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Justise Winslow (12) drives the lane in front of Temple Owls guard Quenton DeCosey (25) during the first half at Barclays Center
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

As we said the other day, Jahlil Okafor played brilliantly through the first three games, but he was generally playing against smaller or inferior players.

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Temple is coming off of a rough nine-win season, but Devontae Watson is 6-11, Obi Enechionyia is 6-9 and Jaylen Bond and Mark Williams are both  6-8 and 240.

It took four games to find some tough guys, but welcome to post play in college, Jahlil.

In the first half, Temple roughed up young Okafor and he missed 10 of his 13 shots (on the bright side, he fought for rebounds and got seven offensive boards for the game).

For the first time, Okafor played against guys who could throw his shot back in his face.

It was an adjustment, but he made it effectively in the second half, hitting 4-7.

Okafor finished with 16 points and eight boards. His remarkable shooting percentage took a hit: he finished 7-20 from the floor.

Not that it matters much. Okafor's talent is not in question; the rate of his maturation is the only real issue. He's very advanced for a freshman. Getting roughed up a bit just moves things along.

He wasn't the only one to struggle from the floor. Duke was cold for a long time and shot just 39.1% as a team.  A lot of that was Okafor, who took nearly a third of Duke's shots, which is what he supposed to do. A third might be a shade high, but the offense this year runs through Okafor first.

Quinn Cook broke even at 6-12; Justise Winslow hit .500 too at 4-8. Tyus Jones was just 1-7 and the bench was 4-12.

There were still a lot of positives, starting but not ending with Okafor's second-half adjustment.

Jones is showing more and more basketball instincts. He is feeling more comfortable on the court and more daring.

Even so, he only has three turnovers in his first four college games. That's pretty remarkable. Pair that with 16 assists and you start to see something special.

Marshall Plumlee came off the bench and provided a nice answer to Temple's physical play. There aren't many guys who are going to shove him around. MP3 isn't as talented on offense as his brothers are, but he's more powerful and, like Okafor, has no illusions about his position. He's a center and likes it. He appears to enjoy banging down low.

Duke shot slightly better than Temple - 39.1% to 37.3% - but 13 of Duke's misses were by one player and several others weren't actually all that bad, though there was a rough stretch for three point shooting.

Temple, on the other hand, coughed the ball up 17 times (Duke had nine) and only Will Cummings came close to shooting well (7-13). Williams was 1-5 and Quenton DeCosey shot 5-16. Among the starters, only Daniel Dingle hit .500 (Watson did too but took just two shots).

Temple managed just 1-12 from three point range (08.3%) and finished under 70% from the line.

In the first game of the season, the Owls managed just 40 points and has yet to top the 43.1% the team managed against Louisiana Tech. It's safe to say that offense will be an ongoing concern for Fran Dunphy's team.

Not so for Duke: the Devils had an off night in this one, but there's simply too much talent for it to happen too often. It shouldn't be a concern.

What's possibly a bigger concern is that while Duke controlled the game despite the pounding Okafor took and learned from, the Blue Devils let up in the second half. A better team - say Louisville - would have been back in the game. Temple's simply not good enough to do that.

In Saturday night's Coaches Against Cancer matchup, Duke will get Johnny Dawkins' Stanford team, which just ate UNLV alive in the undercard, winning  89-60.

Just as bad offense isn't necessarily repeated, great offense is hard to maintain. If Stanford shoots 70% from three point range against Duke, we'll be surprised.

You don't see this too often: Stanford's conversion got lower the closer the Cardinal got to the basket. So 70% from deep,  68.4% from the line and 50% for overall shooting percentage.

Kind of an odd inversion, really.

Game time is 9:30; TV is TruTV again.