With senior forward Obi Enechionyia in foul trouble, opportunity knocked for a freshman forward.
De’Vondre Perry played a career-high 21 minutes and scored a career-high nine points on 2-of-4 shooting from 3-point range in Temple’s 81-78 victory against St. Joseph’s at the Liacouras Center on Saturday.
“It was an opportunity for me to step up and do what I do best,” Perry said.
“He’s doing a really good job,” coach Fran Dunphy said. “He lost [freshman forward Taylor] Funk one time late, and Funk made us pay, but he’s doing well, and he’s got some good athleticism, good toughness. He had no fear, which is always a plus.”
Both of Perry’s 3-pointers came in the first half. On one of them, the St. Joe’s defender played off him at the line. Perry’s second 3-pointer came off an assist from sophomore guard Quinton Rose during a 14-3 run the Owls had heading into halftime.
Perry entered the game shooting 1-for-9 on 3-pointers. After his performance against St. Joe’s, he said teams could play him a little tighter at the 3-point line.
St. Joe’s coach Phil Martelli said Perry’s performance off the bench wasn’t one of the main keys he focused on in the scouting report.
“He’s a confident guy,” Martelli said. “He’s obviously well schooled in their practice sessions.”
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Dunphy said sometimes Perry “wants to go 1,000 miles an hour dribbling up the floor,” but he still displayed versatility to grab rebounds off the glass and push the ball in transition.
With 17 minutes, 12 seconds left in the second half, Perry grabbed the rebound off Hawks freshman forward Anthony Longpré’s miss. Perry nearly turned the ball over, however, he collected himself and found Rose, who scored on a layup and got fouled to extend Temple’s lead to 13 points.
Perry finished with nine points, three rebounds, two turnovers, one assist, one block and a steal.
When he played high school basketball at Polytechnic Institute in Baltimore, Perry said he played a lot of guard, small forward, power forward and sometimes center in the lineup.
“I bring a lot of versatility to whatever team I’m going to be on. …I play multiple positions, [to] take advantage of mismatches,” Perry said.
Rose said he gives Perry advice on what it’s like playing as a freshman because he played a lot last year.
With redshirt-senior guard Josh Brown and redshirt-sophomore guard Trey Lowe out because of injuries last season, Rose played all 32 games, started six games and averaged 10.1 points in 24.8 minutes per game.
“Offensively, he was definitely more comfortable,” Rose said. “Maybe it was just the way the game was going. He let the game come to him today. He hit a couple of big shots.”