After a ten day layoff, Temple put itself back over .500 in a 77-70 upset on the road in Cincinnati. It looks as if they worked out many of their issues during the extended break as they started conference play with a win that had seemed unlikely beforehand.
Temple lost to the Bearcats in Cincinnati by 31 last year and they entered the game as a 12 point underdog. Perhaps the biggest reason for the spread was shooting percentage. They were last in the American in that category, but they made 50% of their shots today and they were also 45% from beyond the three-point line.
Devin Coleman provided a big spark in the first half, as he scored 11 points after not having done much in previous games. He only had one three-pointer in the second half, but it was a timely one. It gave Temple an eight point lead with under two minutes to go that they wouldn’t relinquish.
Senior Quenton DeCosey and junior Josh Brown additionally both put together good games. DeCosey led the team with 19 points and made 10 of 11 free throw attempts. Brown played another smart game as he had 11 points and was 4 of 6 in field goals at one point.
The man of the day, however, was senior Daniel Dingle. He scored a season-high 14 points while making two big three-pointers and shot 60% from the field. Lately, he has been turning into a useful player for Temple. He did not play a whole lot last season because he was a bit of a liability, but he has begun to play smart basketball. As long as he keeps it going, he will be a big help off the bench for Temple this season.
For such a well-played team game, Obi Enechionyia would be expected to be a major part of it. However, he was not against Cincinnati. He missed each of the five shots he took and his only two points came from free throws.
It might be a good sign though if Temple can win a game like this without a real contribution from the sophomore forward. When he’s back to form, they really should be able to compete with anyone they play for the rest of the season.
Any panic that Temple had after a rough 5-5 start has temporarily subsided for now. Winning on the road against one of the conference favorites to start conference play is a big deal. The only AAC team currently ranked higher than Cincinnati is SMU, a team Temple only has to play once. It still won’t be easy as they have to play tough teams like UConn, Houston, and Memphis, but the Owls figured out how to beat a good team on the road today. They additionally need to still play top ranked and non-conference opponent Villanova in mid February. A win against their fellow City 6 team would be monumental, as was this game today.
If each player plays the game they’re meant to play, they can turn around this season. Momentum and confidence is now on their side and it will help with the conference season under way.
Photo: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
Temple basketball is not in a good state right now. After barely getting by Penn at the Palestra, they lose a heartbreaker at home to Saint Joseph’s in overtime. There seems to be a lack of fire in this team and many are putting the blame on Coach Dunphy.
At 4-5, the Owls’ fifth loss is the one that will hurt more down the stretch. St. Joe’s is off to a good 7-2 start, but this was a obtainable game for Temple; especially at home. They were underdogs in their previous four losses. So what went wrong in this game?
For one, Trey Lowe was nowhere to be seen. The freshman has been one of the biggest spark plugs for this offense and he did not play nearly enough. At 6’6 and 165 pounds he had an abysmal night; ending with zeroes in all statistical categories. Devin Coleman, an important offensive asset for Temple, also played poorly. He had plenty more minutes than Lowe and still had the same amount of points. He missed all seven shots he took.
Senior Quenton DeCosey, the only man who has been with Temple for four years, was as inconsistent as it gets. Despite having 13 points and an important dunk that sent the game to overtime, he only shot 27% from the field accompanied with a couple of turnovers as well. Senior captain Jaylen Bond also shot 27% from the field, many of which were missed layups. He fouled out which really hurt Temple in the rebound aspect late in the game, although he only had four rebounds when he fouled out.
Additionally, coach Fran Dunphy seemed to let his guys loose too many times. Jaylen Bond took a couple of unadvised jump shots. Typically a rebounding machine, one would think coach Dunphy would make Bond stay down low. As for junior Mark Williams, it’s hard to figure out his role with this team. He played a ton of minutes in the game and didn't have his best performance.
Furthermore, Obi Enechionya rebounded a ball with six or so seconds left in overtime when he took it down the court and kept it until his attempt at a game winning shot. Although coach Dunphy was probably trying to keep the Saint Joseph's defense off-balance, it would have been nice to use a timeout to settle the team and draw up a play. It was clear Enechionya looked a bit lost and couldn’t find a better alternative.
It would’ve been wise for coach Dunphy to call that last time out and put the ball in a more seasoned players hands; such as Josh Brown. After all, Brown has been smart with the ball in his hands this season and had one of his better shooting performances this year (5 of 10 from the field).
There were a lot of “ifs” in this game for Temple, but the fifth most winningest program in the nation now has five losses through its first nine games. Aside from their win against Minnesota in Puerto Rico, the team as a whole hasn’t resembled anywhere near an NCAA Tournament team. Things need to change quickly before conference play begins in two weeks or Temple may be in for a long season.
Photo: John Geliebter/USA Today Sports
In a Big 5 thriller between St. Joe’s and Temple at the Liacouras Center tonight, Phil Martelli and the Hawks came away victorious in a one point overtime win, 66-65.
St. Joe’s was led by DeAndre Bembry with 17 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks. Isaiah Miles additionally tallied 12 points and 15 rebounds in 42 minutes. Obi Enechionyia had a game high 25 points and added 13 rebounds for the Owls.
The Hawks will look to build off of this win next Saturday when they take on Illinois State. On the contrary, Fran Dunphy and his Owls will look to get back to their winning ways against Delaware State.
It’s never easy to continue success during a time of change.
When Will Cummings completed his four years at Temple University, he made a name for himself as the heart and soul of the Owls’ offense. A veteran point guard on the team, Cummings was able to take on any matchup put in front of him, and although his defense was feisty and strong, it was his ability to drive into the lane and create shots for his team that made him one of the best point guards in the nation at the collegiate level.
This season however, the Owls are unable to rely on the abilities of Cummings because, well, he is no longer on the team. With Cummings now a graduate pursuing a career in the NBA’s development league, the Owls began the season with a question on the minds of many: who would be their point guard that could run the offense just as smoothly as Cummings?
Temple had two true freshman guards coming into this season in Trey Lowe and Levan Alston Jr,. Although these players were known for their abilities to score and dish in high school, it was unknown how quickly the two would translate their games to the collegiate level. With that being said, one particular player on the minds of Owl fans and coaches alike that could possibly fill the large void that Cummings left behind was Josh Brown.
This is the third year that Brown has been on the team, but his career averages have been pedestrian at best. As a sophomore last season, Brown averaged below 22-minutes a game and produced just 6.3 points and 1.5 assists each contest. Granted, Brown was still a young player and was shadowed over by the talented season that Cummings had, but the under two assists per game were alarming. If the numbers said anything about Brown’s development, it was that he needed to learn how to play the point guard position in a true manner by creating more opportunities for his teammates. Though Brown’s sophomore statistics told one story, a story that foreshadowed a season of learning and transition to the point guard position, his play through the first eight games of the season have told a different story.
So far this season, Brown is averaging five assists per game. Although it is a good number but not a great number for point guards, the plus-3.5 improvement is what is exciting about the stat. If you analyze Brown’s performance to start this season even further, the numbers become even more impressive. In his freshman season, Brown dished out a total of 51 assists in 31 games played and in his second year, Brown upped that total to 57 assists in 37 games played. This year, through eight games played, Brown already has 40 total assists, just 11 shy of his freshman total and 17 away from his sophomore amount. It was not until conference play had started and 23 games had passed that Brown totaled 40 assists last season. The date that marked his 40th assist? February 4th, 2015, in USF victory against Cincinnati. This season, Brown recorded his 40th assist on December 19th, 2015 in a Big 5 victory against the Penn Quakers. It is amazing to realize that Brown was able to reach 40-plus assists this season in the same year that he did it last season (2015).
If you take into consideration how quickly Brown was handed the keys to bring the ball up the court, he has certainly taken the task to heart with little to no error. When asked about Brown’s progression as a point guard earlier this season, head coach Fran Dunphy praised his junior’s efficiency. “I certainly like his assist-to-turnover numbers, those are good,” Dunphy said. “He’s still learning that position. The reality is he’s still learning that position and trying to get better at decision making.”
Despite all of this still being a learning process for Brown, he has ran the Owl offense without turning the ball over much. Through eight games, Brown has averaged fewer than two turnovers a game, and in three of those games, he didn't turned over the ball at all. No game has presented Brown’s rapid development into becoming a true point guard more than Temple’s first Big 5 game this season against Penn.
The Owls were able to hold off the Quakers with a win at the Palestra, 77-73, and Josh Brown was a huge reason for the victory.
Through 38 minutes, Brown was able to feed his teammates several times, dishing out a total of nine assists and even though Brown had the ball in his hands for a large portion of the game, he turned over the ball just one time. To go along with the efficient passing and ball handling, Brown was also able to drop 10 points.
After the victory, senior leader, Quenton DeCosey, praised Brown for his productive play. “He did a great job getting everybody involved on our team,” DeCosey said. “And with just one turnover…we’re going to need him to do that throughout the rest of the season.”
Head coach Fran Dunphy spoke on Brown after the game as well, with some words that resembled statements he would make after a performance of Will Cummings. “If his numbers could be like this every night — 10 points and obviously those four foul shots down the stretch were big, six rebounds, nine assists, one turnover — that’s a pretty good performance,” Dunphy said. “I think he defended better tonight too.”
With impressive improvement that is visible to both his teammates and coaches, expect more appreciation for Josh Brown’s play as he continues to blossom into a true playmaker.
Photo: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Temple is now off to a 3-4 start to their 2015-16 campaign. There are positives and negatives with their play, but it’s important to know that they have faced tough competition.
As of right now, they have the 13th highest strength of schedule in the country with three games against ranked teams and an away game against the 2014 national championship runner-up.
All four of those opponents beat the Owls. Beginning the season in Annapolis, Md against #1 UNC went as expected. It turned into an easy victory for the Tar Heels although Temple did stick with them in the first half without Obi Enechionya.
Their next two losses came in the last two rounds of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. After edging out their first win against a decent Minnesota team, they played #22 Butler and #16 Utah. They hung in with both and were just short of a comeback victory against Utah when it looked like the Utes were about to pull away for good.
They took care of business and defeated Delaware and Fairleigh Dickinson on their home court afterward despite sloppy play that led to FDU giving a scare in the second half.
The Owls then traveled to Wisconsin where they were outplayed by better talent.
Each loss and win were warranted. They lost to who they were likely to lose to and beat who they were expected to beat. However, finding a way to win against Butler and/or Utah would’ve not only given the Owls a better record, but it would’ve also given them another level of confidence.
Temple played well enough against both teams that they probably should’ve left with a win against one of them, but the usual minor mistakes haunted them. A missed free throw or turnover here and there could’ve swayed the games in another direction.
They aren’t bad losses though, so it doesn’t necessarily hurt them. The issue is the number in the loss column. As Selection Sunday came last year, Temple was 23-10. Even with the blowout win against #10 Kansas, the committee probably looked at their schedule and couldn’t find one more impressive win. Winning just one game against a team like SMU or Tulsa could’ve been the ticket in.
But this season, the team is seven games into the year and Temple already has four losses. To improve on their record from last year, Temple would have to finish out the regular season on a 17-6 run. They still play teams like UConn and Cincinnati twice, SMU once, and don’t forget about Villanova either.
Of course, it’s already important to do well in conference play, but it is crucial for the Owls to do so at this point. The rough schedule to begin the season could come back to bite them otherwise, but it also might be a blessing as well. The players now have experience playing against high profile opponents and it can help out in the long run. Now they know how they stack up against some of the better teams in the nation and that will certainly help against the top American Conference teams. It also doesn’t hurt that freshmen Trey Lowe and Levan Alston are getting a bunch of minutes against these teams. Quality experience against the nation’s top team is needed for any player to get better in the future.
Temple now has three more non-conference games before they start their conference season (aside from La Salle in January and Villanova in February). Once they play Cincinnati on December 29, they need to be at the top of their game for the rest of the season to get back into the March Madness conversation. But it’s going to be a tough climb up.
Photo: AP/Ricardo Arduengo