Starting at the 16:43 mark in the first half, Temple’s offense shut down. Fran Dunphy’s squad went scoreless for nearly four minutes of the Owls’ 78-60 win against East Carolina Saturday.
After five Temple misses, senior guard Quenton DeCosey took it upon himself to end the drought. The senior guard spotted up from the left side of the 3-point arc and knocked down the shot.
When the Owls’ offense stalled again later in the half, and the Pirates built a double-digit lead, DeCosey responded by scoring or assisting on 10 of the Owls’ next 13 points to cut Temple’s deficit to five going into halftime.
“I think it’s very important,” DeCosey said of giving his team an offensive boost. “At times when we’re struggling, myself and [senior guard Devin Coleman] also, we gotta put some points on the board and help our squad get a victory.”
The Owls’ offense in 2015-16 has been plagued by inconsistency. In a 77-70 win on Dec. 29, 2015 against Cincinnati, then-ranked No. 22 in the AP Top 25 poll, the Owls shot 50 percent from the field. Coach Fran Dunphy’s squad followed with a 34.5-percent-shooting performance against Houston in a 77-50 loss Jan. 2.
In the team’s past two games—wins against then-No. 23 Connecticut and East Carolina—the Owls have totaled 55 points and 78 points, respectively. An exception to the inconsistency has been DeCosey. The Union, New Jersey native leads the team in scoring at 15.6 PPG.
“I think there’s always room for improvement,” DeCosey said. “Like [Coleman] said, we watch film every day, so I can always see what I can improve at.”
DeCosey has reached double-digit scoring totals in 12 of Temple’s 14 games. He led the Owls in scoring in their past five contests, including a 24-point outing in Saturday’s win against East Carolina.
Last season, DeCosey was second on the team in scoring, averaging 12.3 PPG. His field goal percentage has increased from 37.7 percent last season to 45.7 percent in 2015-16. DeCosey’s success on 3-point attempts has improved 35.9 percent to 43.8 percent.
He made 8-of-13 shots Saturday and netted 5-of-8 3-point attempts.
“[It’s] mostly just staying focused,” DeCosey said of the difference between 2014-15 and 2015-16. “Going into every game in attack mode being aggressive.”
Dunphy said there are still areas he would like his senior guard to work on. DeCosey leads the Owls with 33 turnovers—12 more than junior guard Josh Brown, who is second on the team in turnovers.
“I think he’s improved,” Dunphy said. “I think he’s getting better every game, but I still think there’s some room to grow for him and the focus piece he’s still working on.”
Besides DeCosey, no other player is averaging double figures in scoring for Temple.
Senior forward Jaylen Bond, Brown and sophomore forward Obi Enechionyia, who are all averaging more than eight points per game, have been the primary offensive contributors other than DeCosey.
In Saturday’s victory, Coleman filled the role, scoring 17 points on 6-of-13 shooting. He closed the first half with two 3-point buckets, which he said started from the defensive end.
“That’s where things start,” Coleman said. “Defensively, like you could see when we started to get stops we got out and ran, and that’s when we were able to go on that run.”
Owen McCue can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @Owen_McCue.