Over the summer, Fran Dunphy approached Devin Coleman with a question.
“Who do you think should start in our lineup,” the Owls’ coach said.
The senior guard named four players and then, shyly mentioned himself.
“We talked about [the lineup] for a stretch,” Dunphy said. “He sheepishly said ‘me’ at the end of it. I appreciated that. There is a level of confidence and humility.
While his teammates huddled around Dunphy on the sideline at Alumni Hall Friday night, Coleman sat in a navy blue chair on the bench.
With the Owls trailing in the second half against the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the No. 1 team in the AP Top 25 Poll, the senior guard was substituted out and replaced by freshman guard Trey Lowe. Coleman would not step foot on the floor again, as calf cramps prevented him from playing the final 15 minutes of the game.
Coleman finished the game with a career-high and a team-high 19 points in 21 minutes played in the Owls’ 91-67 loss.
“I think he has these kind of games in him,” Dunphy said. “He can get hot, and he’s earned that right.”
In the first half, Coleman scored 16 points on 4-of-8-shooting. He also was 6-of-6 from the foul line. Coleman accounted for 44 percent of the team’s total points scored in the first half.
Coleman was the only Owl to score in double figures in the first half and senior guard Quenton DeCosey’s seven points were the second highest total behind Coleman.
“I felt like I was always confident,” Coleman said. “A couple shots went down, and I started feeling good, so I tried to carry that momentum throughout the game.”
Coleman was named a starter this season after the departure of guard Jesse Morgan.
Last season, Coleman appeared in 27 games after having to sit out due to NCAA rules after transferring from Clemson University. He averaged 3.6 points per game in 11.4 minutes of action per game last season.
Friday was the first time in Coleman’s Temple career that he played more than 20 minutes and the fourth time as an Owl he scored in double figures.
Coming into the game, Coleman’s career high at Temple was 14 points, which he scored against Central Florida Jan. 28.
“He’s worked really hard at it,” Dunphy said. “He’s really come ready to go.”
Coleman shot 45.5 percent from the field against the Tar Heels. For the game, Temple shot 38.7 percent from the floor while allowing North Carolina to shoot 50.7 percent from the field.
“We take something away from every game,” Coleman said. “That is what film is for. … We’ll see our mistakes. See some good things that we did, some things we can build on and learn about going forward.”
The Owls also received contributions from freshman Levan Shawn Alston, Jr., Lowe and Ernest Aflakpui.
The trio totaled 46 minutes Friday, scoring 22 points. Alston scored 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting, including 2-of-4 from 3-point range.
“I thought they were fearless,” Dunphy said. “They enjoyed the moment. I thought they did a good job, all three of them.”
Lowe scored eight points while Aflakpui grabbed two rebounds in 12 minutes of play.
“It was a tremendous learning experience,” Dunphy said. “For those three guys, especially.
Michael Guise can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @Michael_Guise.