After a 32-point loss to No. 1 Kansas Saturday, the men’s basketball team did its best Jayhawks impression against Saint Joseph’s in the Owls’ Atlantic Ten Conference opener Wednesday night.
No. 21 Temple defeated St. Joe’s, 73-46, to open the A-10 portion of the schedule 1-0 and improve to 12-3 overall. The Hawks (4-9 overall 0-1 A-10) have now lost three games in a row and nine of their last 10. The Owls face Rhode Island on the road Sunday.
“I think it was very important for us to come back after a very tough loss against Kansas and get back in the right direction,” senior guard Ryan Brooks said. “[Kansas] was a tough game to watch. That was a game that really brought us back down to earth and embarrassed us. That was a learning point for us and hopefully the turning point in the season.
“We knew that it was a new season for us,” Brooks said. “The first part of the season we put ourselves in a good position. This was a great way to start off A-10.”
The Hawks never led in the game but did answer the Owls’ opening 7-0 run with an 11-4 run of their own to tie the game at 11 all. They would never get closer, as Temple answered with a 9-0 run and led by 10 points at halftime.
With junior forward Lavoy Allen held out of the starting lineup because he showed up 10 minutes late to a film session, sophomore forward/center Micheal Eric dominated inside early. He scored six of the team’s first nine points and a career-high 13 in his 15 minutes of action.
“I was happy for Mike,” coach Fran Dunphy said. “He made a one-handed layup in the lane and had a great finish in there. Mike gave us what we needed him to give us early on. I think he decided he was going to post up and post up hard, catch the basketball and do some things inside.
“We did have a size advantage inside, but I don’t think we have great post players yet,” Dunphy added.
When Allen did get into the game with 11:57 remaining in the first half, he built off what Eric started. Allen grabbed 11 rebounds and scored 20 points, his fourth double-double of the season. The Owls outscored the Hawks 46-18 in the paint and 21-4 on second-chance points. They also outrebounded St. Joe’s 49-25.
“The game is in the numbers,” St. Joe’s coach Phil Martelli said. “I’ve always been a big believer that it’s a numeric game. We had no double-figure scorers. We got 2-to-1 outrebounded. They had 46 points in the lane.”
The Hawks did hold sophomore guard Juan Fernandez to no points on 0-for-10 shooting.
Game Notes: Temple has now beaten St. Joe’s six straight times…The Owls also ruined the Hawks’ three-game winning streak in A-10 openers…The last time St. Joe’s played Temple when it was ranked was Feb. 29, 2000. The Hawks won that game by three points…Senior forward Rafael DeLeon scored his first career points on a layup that provided the final margin of victory.
Jennifer Reardon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.