Five minutes into the first half, Thursday’s exhibition game was decided, at least in Herb Magee’s estimation.
The Jefferson University coach watched Temple sink several 3-pointers on an 11-point run in the first half, and he knew his Rams weren’t going to be able to keep pace. Temple’s size and athleticism outmatched Jefferson in its 70-60 win at the Liacouras Center on Thursday.
“I’m not going to sit here and tell you, ‘We could beat Temple,’ or ‘We should beat Temple,’” Magee said. “It was Temple’s game most of the way.”
Sophomore guard Quinton Rose led all players in scoring at halftime with 13 points on 6-of-11 shooting, including 1-for-4 from beyond the arc.
But Rose didn’t play in the second half because of cramps, coach Fran Dunphy said. Rose sat out part of last season’s game against Cincinnati at the Liacouras Center because of cramps.
“The trainer said, ‘It looks like he’s got these cramps again,’” Dunphy said. “Last year if you remember against Cincinnati here he didn’t play in the second half either. We got to see about… doing a better job at halftime at just keeping him hydrated.”
While most Division I teams start their seasons Friday, Temple will start its season on Nov. 16 in the Charleston Classic against Old Dominion University.
Josh Brown returns
Redshirt-senior guard Josh Brown attacked the basket early in the contest. He missed his first three attempts driving toward the hoop before he hit his first field goal from beyond the arc with 11 minutes, 48 seconds remaining the first half.
“They were giving me a lot of room, so I feel like I needed to be aggressive,” Brown said. “I just needed to capitalize on those points.”
Josh Brown and Obi Enechionyia https://t.co/uqJEtduV3i
— Temple News Sports (@TTN_Sports) November 10, 2017
He played a team-high 32 minutes with 10 points, three assists and one steal.
Dunphy didn’t plan for Brown to play as much as he did. Jefferson made a push toward the end of the game, and Dunphy wanted Brown to be in the game as the clock wound down to zero
After Monday’s practice, Dunphy said he didn’t expect anyone to play more than 20 minutes.
The Owls played a rotation of 10 players, including five who played 20 minutes or more.
Sophomore guard Alani Moore II tied Rose for a team-high 13 points off the bench. Thirty-four percent of Temple’s 70 points came from its bench.
Three of the team’s four freshmen played in the exhibition game against Jefferson. Forward De’Vondre Perry led all freshmen with 19 minutes and was the first first-year athlete off the bench. He finished with six points, six rebounds, two assists, a block and a steal.
Forward Justyn Hamilton was the only freshman who didn’t play, but Dunphy said he ideally would have given him minutes.
Perry and freshman guard Nate Pierre-Louis each displayed the ability to grab rebounds and push the ball up the floor on offense.
With 9:08 left in the game, Perry grabbed rebound off a missed jumper from Jefferson senior forward Yevgen Sakhniuk. Then he found Moore II for a wide-open jumper to give the Owls a 57-36 lead. Pierre-Louis assisted Brown on a layup about a minute later after grabbing a rebound off the glass.
“It helps than to just have the guards to be able to do that,” senior forward Obi Enechionyia said. “So when we get a rebound, anyone can just push it up and start the offense. It definitely helps to have that versatility, which the freshmen bring.”
Big man rotation
Junior center Ernest Aflakpui started the game. Dunphy said he’s still working out the starting spot between he and sophomore center Damion Moore.
Aflakpui snagged three rebounds in the first three minutes and finished with six on the night. He had four offensive boards in the first half. Aflakpui finished with three points and two turnovers.
Moore, who displayed the ability to hit a mid-range jumper last season, made an effort to score from the post against Jefferson. He finished with three points, five rebounds and one steal in 14 minutes on 1-of-6 shooting.
Enechionyia also played some center in small-ball lineups as the Owls tested lineups featuring four guards. Enechionyia finished with 12 points, six rebounds and two blocks.