Freshmen jitters and veteran blunders in Owls’ home opener

Excitement was in the air as the 2002-2003 Temple men’s basketball season was set to begin, but after the season and home opener 59-53 loss to Rutgers, the 6,845 people in attendance at the Liacouras

Excitement was in the air as the 2002-2003 Temple men’s basketball
season was set to begin, but after the season and home opener 59-53
loss to Rutgers, the 6,845 people in attendance at the Liacouras Center
hoped this was only a bad start to a good season.

Rutgers was led by junior guard Jerome Coleman’s 28 points and
withstood a frantic Temple comeback to pull out the victory. The Owls
were led in scoring by junior guard David Hawkins’ 21 points, with 11 from
the free throw line. Hawkins is expected to take the lead in scoring this
year since the departure of Lynn Greer.

This is the first season in Chaney’s 21-year career at Temple that he
started three freshmen. Freshman center Keith Butler saw his first
competitive basketball in over a year and grabbed seven defensive
rebounds. Freshman forward Antwayne Robinson went 3-8 from the field
for seven points in 30 minutes. Freshman guard Maurice Collins, who
was asked to play the point against a good defensive team, scored 11
points but missed his first five free throws with no assists.

“My mama fed me lima beans,” Chaney said after the loss. “No meat. I
didn’t have a choice. That is all she had.”

And all Chaney had Sunday afternoon was questions about the freshmen,
Hawkins’ eight turnovers and senior Alex Wesby’s quiet play.

“I think [Collins] was a little bit overmatched with the pressure,” Chaney
said. “It is part my fault for putting him in that position, but he is such a
level headed guy, but to expect him to score, passing cutting and then
looking for the shot is probably too much for him.”

Temple last led in the game when the score was 18-17, after Hawkins
made a three-pointer with 5:28 to go in the first half. Rutgers led by as
much as 18 points in the second half. But as Rutgers did against North
Carolina, they went into a swoon with about five minutes to go.

Leading by seven points with 1:40 left, a missed free-throw by Collins was
put back by sophomore forward Hawley Smith, cutting the lead all the way
down to five, the closest the Owls were since the beginning of the second
half. Hawkins was then put on the free throw line with a chance to pull the
Owls within three. He made the first and missed the second.

Smith once again came up with a huge rebound, fed it back to
Hawkins–who instead of looking for an open teammate–took it inside
where he was blocked by 6-10 forward Herve Laminzana, thus ending any
chance of Temple getting any closer.

The one positive for the Owls was that the newcomers combined with the
veterans showed they can play defense. After a three by Coleman with
4:58 left the Owls did not allow Rutgers to make a field goal, holding them
to three free throws and forcing four turnovers. Overall, the Owls forced 20
turnovers, with Hawkins leading the pack with five steals.

Chaney was not pleased with the play of Wesby. In foul trouble early in the
second, he was forced to sit on the bench and played only 26 minutes. He
only scored five points and the man whom had 55 steals last season did
not even have one in a game peppered with turnovers. Chaney also
thought the game would have been different had junior guard Brian Polk
gotten his act together and been able to play.

“I am going to throw them into the water. They’re going to get wet,” Chaney
said. “We’ll come back with all kinds of bruises and everything else.”

The Owls have seven straight road games until they return home Dec.28.
That tough road begins with a Dec.1 showdown at Wake Forest and a
chance for the freshman to show that this game was only the jitters.

(BOLD)AAires performs National Anthem(BOLD)

It was unnoticeable that Ayinke, who along with sister to Ayana make up
the music group AAries, was fighting a sore throat while performing the
National Anthem before both men’s and women’s games. AAries is best
known for their background vocals on Musiq’s tracks, most notably “Girl
Next Door”; come next year they will be singing tunes of their own when
they drop their long-awaited album Always Remember. They recently
completed their Courvoisier-7 City Tour.

Their current single “Strangers for love” illuminates the illustrious voices
of the sisters and their back-in-tha-day rhymes and beats. The singing
sisters started off in a Baptist church of their hometown of Arlington, Va.
They even tuned their voices with some classical music at a young age
and craved the vocal arts after singing along to the soundtrack of Annie
and Alvin and the Chipmunks.

AAries are no stranger to Philadelphia, having ties with ?uestlove of the
Roots and past performances at venues like The 5 Spot.


Matt Sitkoff can be reached at

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