Temple University men’s basketball (7-5, 0-1 The American Athletic Conference) defeated Delaware State University (2-11, 0-0 The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) 85-48 Wednesday afternoon, powered by 35 points from freshman forward Zach Hicks.
“For him to be able to do that, that’s incredible,” said head coach Aaron McKie. “It fell for him today.”
Scoring the most points of any Owl this season, Hicks shot 10 of 16 from beyond the arc, scoring 16 points in the first half alone. He broke the Owls’ record for 3-pointers made in a game with 10, which was previously held by Johnny Miller and Rick Brunson, who scored nine in two different games in 1995.
Redshirt-freshman guard Damian Dunn scored 18 points of his own.
Temple was fresh off of a two-game losing streak, where they lost by 19 to Saint Joseph’s University (6-5, 0-0 The Atlantic 10 Conference) and by 17 to the University of Central Florida (7-2, 1-0 The American). The Owls shot 10 percent from 3-point range in each game, and their distance shooting tonight proved to be the difference throughout.
Temple’s game against Drexel University (5-5, 0-0 The Colonial Athletic Association), originally scheduled for Dec. 18, was postponed due to COVID-19 complications within the Drexel basketball program.
Hicks gave the Owls a scoring threat from outside the paint that they’ve missed during losses this season. He was electric from three, scoring three in a row in the second half, including an and-one for a four-point play with nine minutes remaining. The scarce crowd at the Liacouras Center jumped up every time he shot the ball.
“When team’s go zone, it opens the market for threes,” Hicks said. “I was in rhythm so much that I didn’t see the big men in front of me.”
During the first half, the game was back-and-forth as Temple battled for points down low against the Hornets’ height in six foot 10 inch Zach Kent and seven foot and three inch Chris Sodom. But once Temple’s shots began to fall, the Hornets could not keep up.
Temple’s lead expanded with only a few minutes remaining as Dunn and Hicks combined for three consecutives threes, giving the Owls a 10-point cushion heading into halftime.
In the second half, the Owls picked up where they left off by moving and shooting the ball extremely well. Temple went on two scoring droughts within the first eight minutes of second-half play, yet they kept a 13-point lead with 10 minutes left.
For the Hornets, graduate student guard Myles Carter scored 19 points. During the first half, they had only three players score a basket, adding only two more scorers in the second.
Temple’s largest winning margin this season was a sneak-peek at what the Owls can do if they find perimeter shooters throughout the season. By working ball screens outside the paint and finding quality shots in the half-court offense, Temple was too much to handle.
Temple freshman guard Jeremiah Williams was a key facilitator for the Owls with nine assists.
“I thought we shared the ball a little bit better,” McKie said.
The Owls face Villanova University (8-4, 1-1 The Big East), their first ranked opponent, on Dec. 29 at the Finneran Pavilion in Villanova, Pennsylvania.