Sports

Men’s basketball shows potential, weaknesses in exhibition

Temple allowed Division II Jefferson University to go on an 11-point run in the second half of its 70-60 win at the Liacouras Center on Thursday.

Jefferson University sophomore guard Kylan Guerra got his hand in the passing lane with 12 minutes, seven seconds left in the first half.

He made a deflection and saved the ball before it went out of bounds to break up senior forward Obi Enechionyia’s pass for sophomore guard Quinton Rose.

Enechionyia collected an offensive rebound on Temple’s next possession and set up redshirt-senior guard Josh Brown for a 3-pointer. Then Enechionyia got a steal and set up Rose for a transition layup.

Rose dropped 13 points and grabbed three rebounds in the first half of Thursday’s exhibition at the Liacouras Center, where the Owls won, 70-60, against the Division II school.

“For the most part, for us tonight, the first 32 minutes, we had a nice run and then the last eight we didn’t play very well in the last eight,” coach Fran Dunphy said.

Temple showed signs of potential and areas in which it needs to improve during Thursday’s exhibition. Brown, Enechionyia, Rose, junior guard Shizz Alston Jr. and junior center Ernest Aflakpui started the game. Dunphy is still debating whether Aflakpui or sophomore Damion Moore will start at center on Nov. 16 against Old Dominion University and beyond, he said.

The Owls allowed Jefferson to outscore them, 36-33, in the second half. The Rams went on an 11-0 run over a span of 3:31 to cut their deficit to 11 with less than five minutes left.

Though the Rams made a run, by coach Herb Magee’s standards the result was already determined.

“We’re up 10-2 and next thing you know, we’re down 10-12,” he said. “So that’s when the game ended.”

After Monday’s practice, Dunphy said most likely that no one would play more than 20 minutes. Alston played 31 and shot 3-for-16 from the field and 2-for-7 from 3-point range.

Rose played 17 minutes in the first half but didn’t play in the second half due to cramps, Dunphy said. Sitting him for the final 20 minutes was a precautionary move, he added.

Brown played 32 minutes because Dunphy wanted him on the court in the final eight minutes as Jefferson made a push.

Brown played in his first game at the Liacouras Center since Dec. 7, 2016. An Achilles tendon injury limited him to five games in the 2016-17 season.

On the Owls’ first possession, Rose made a pass to him as he cut backdoor past Jefferson freshman guard Alexander Gorton. Brown missed the layup attempt to start the night.

He finished with 10 points, three assists, a steal and a turnover and shot 40 percent from the field.

Three of the team’s four freshmen played in the game. Forward Justyn Hamilton didn’t play, but Dunphy ideally would have liked to put him in the game, he said.

Freshman forward De’Vondre Perry entered with 11:17 left in the first half and ran the floor with Enechionyia, Alston, Moore and sophomore guard Alani Moore II.

Perry immediately collected a rebound and pushed the ball up the court. He drove inside and kicked out to help set up a 3-pointer by Moore II.

Perry also committed an offensive foul with 6:11 left in the second half as he drove to the net. He finished the game with six points, two assists, a block and a steal in 17 minutes.

Freshman forward De’Vondre Perry Euro-steps in the paint during the Owls’ 70-60 exhibition win against Jefferson University on Thursday at the Liacouras Center. | SYDNEY SCHAEFER / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Freshman forward J.P. Moorman II entered the game with 8:56 left in the first half. He traveled on his first offensive possession before he stole the ball with 7:28 left.

With less than six minutes remaining in the first half, freshman guard Nate Pierre-Louis joined Moorman, Moore, Brown and Rose on the floor.

Pierre-Louis made a smart decision with 2:06 left in the first half as he dribbled in transition. Seeing that he was outnumbered by the Rams, Pierre-Louis passed behind him to a trailing teammate. He finished with two points on three field-goal attempts.

All three freshmen turned over the ball once and had a steal.

“They brought a great spark when they got in,” Brown said. “Nate defensively and being on the offensive glass, being that energizer bug for us. J.P. was good on the glass as well, and Dre, I thought a good job. He played a good floor game to us, got to the lane, passed. He made a couple of shots. …I think they’re going to be good for us and crucial for us down the road.”

Temple used a variety of lineups, including a four-guard set with Alston, Rose, Brown, Pierre-Louis and Moore at center.

Players and Dunphy have stressed the importance of rebounding in smaller lineups. Five players had five rebounds or more. Enechionyia, Perry and Aflakpui led with six. Four of Aflakpui’s rebounds came on the offensive end.

Thursday’s exhibition in front of 3,292 people raised money for hurricane victims in Texas, Puerto Rico and Florida.

Most Division I teams will begin their regular seasons on Friday, but Temple will have to wait a week.

“[Jefferson] had 38 points at the eight-minute mark, and then we just didn’t do a very good job at the end, but I’m hoping that that experience will help us as we go into next week,” Dunphy said.

Evan Easterling

can be reached at evan.easterling@temple.edu
Or you can follow Evan on Twitter @Evan_Easterling
Follow The Temple News @TheTempleNews

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