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 finishes season with 80-69 loss against East Carolina in first round of AAC tournament