Three Owls scored in double-figures, and junior forward Jaylen Bond hauled in 16 rebounds to lead the men’s basketball team to its seventh straight conference win, 66-53.
Temple (19-7, 10-3 American Athletic Conference) never trailed East Carolina (11-14, 4-8 The American) and continued its hold on sole possession of third place in the conference. The Owls’ next two games are road trips against Southern Methodist and Tulsa, the conference’s first- and second-place teams, respectively.
The Owls opened up a big first-half lead by passing through ECU’s zone defense. Temple led by as many as 18 points in the first half and 16 at halftime. The Pirates never got closer than 11 following intermission.
Bond, the conference leader in offensive rebounds and second in total rebounds, led the Owls with six offensive rebounds. As a team, Temple out-rebounded ECU 49-26, and held an 18-5 advantage on the offensive end. The disparity led to a 19-2 tilt in second-chance points, with Temple holding the advantage.
“I knew it would be tough for them to keep me off the glass with the type of zone they were playing,” Bond said. “By crashing the glass hard, I was able to get some easy rebounds and some hard ones.”
Terry Whisnant was the lone Pirate to score double-digits with 13 points. The team had come in after beating Memphis by 11 points, but was seventh place in the conference standings.
Coach Fran Dunphy used a different starting lineup than usual. Juniors Quenton DeCosey and Devontae Watson started the game on the bench, while Mark Williams and Daniel Dingle received the start. Williams did not play in the team’s last game against Cincinnati, and had collected 30 minutes total in his previous six contests.
When asked on the reasoning for the lineup change, Dunphy said “guys were a little late for a couple assignments.”
Senior guard Will Cummings led all scorers with 17 points in 34 minutes on the floor, and finished 7-of-7 from the free-throw line.
“Whenever the time is critical, he needs to be in the game,” Dunphy said of Cummings. “He’s such an important part of what we’re doing. He gets plenty of rest during the week as well, but we need Will in there as much as we can.”
Temple shot just 36.8 percent from the floor, but held ECU to 35.2 percent. The Owls also had more turnovers and less assists than the Pirates.
While Temple shot 25 three-point shots and made six for 24 percent, the Owls held a 28-12 advantage in points in the paint.
Temple now has an extended break, as the team is not back in action until Thursday on the road against SMU.
Freshman forward Obi Enechionyia did not play for the third-straight game, resting with a hurt ankle. He is expected to play against SMU … Quenton DeCosey did not start for the first time all season. He had previously been the only Owl to start all 25 games … There were six total fast-break points between the two teams, as the tempo was slowed in the halfcourt significantly.
Ibrahim Jacobs can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ibrahimjacobs.