NEW YORK (AP) — Freshman center Jahlil Okafor had 16 points and eight rebounds in his introduction to the rough-and-tumble world of New York City basketball, and No. 4 Duke overcame an off night from the field in coasting to a 74-54 victory over Temple in the semifinals of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic on Friday night.
The Blue Devils (4-0) advanced to a championship game against Stanford (3-0), a contest which will match long-time coach Mike Krzyzewski against one of his first big-time guards — Johnny Dawkins. It will be the first coaching contest between the two.READ MORE: In-Person Visits At Pennsylvania State Prison Pausing Thursday Due To COVID-19-Related Issues Among Staff
The Cardinal defeated UNLV 89-60 in the opener at the Barclays Center.
Quinn Cook had 18 points and freshman Justise Winslow added 15 for the Blue Devils, who shot 31 percent from the field in the first half before warming up a little in the second half on a cold, chilly night in the Big Apple. Freshman point guard Tyus Jones added seven assists on a night Duke shot 39 percent from the field.
The Blue Devils made up for their poor shooting, forcing 17 turnovers while holding Temple to 37 percent shooting from the field, including 1 of 12 from long range.
Will Cummings had 18 points for Temple (2-1), whose scrappy defense frustrated Duke, which more than a few times looked at the officials for a little help.
The crew didn’t listen and the game was played like an old Big East Conference game, with lots of pushing and contact in the paint that didn’t get many whistles.
Okafor, the 6-foot-11 LeBron James-like talent, struggled early, hitting 3 of 13 shots from the field in the first half. He adjusted better in the final 20 minutes, making 4 of 7, including one impressive move where he faked Devontae Watson to the right of the basket and blew past him for a lay-in.READ MORE: Philadelphia Weather: Confidence Growing Major Storm Could Bring Significant Impacts To Delaware Valley This Weekend
The Chicago native also thrilled the pro-Duke crowd diving into press row to try to save a ball, laughing as he ran over photographers and crashed into the press table.
Okafor hit two free throws late in the opening half to ignite a 7-0 run that helped Duke open a 10-point lead. He also had six points in a 19-7 second-half spurt that blew the game open.
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