Temple ran its losing streak to three games after getting scorched by Rutgers 77-67 at the Louis Brown Athletic Center last night.
The Scarlet Knights (3-1) came into the contest with a total of 12 three pointers in their first three games. Against the Owls they doubled their season output, hitting 12 of 23 from beyond the arc. Once again the Owls were helpless on defense giving the Knights wide-open shots. Freshman guard Quincy Douby led the Knights with 21 points.
Rutgers used a 11-2 run in the first half and led by as much as 11, nailing seven three-pointers. Owls’ freshman Dustin Salisbery’s lay-up at the buzzer sent Temple into halftime down 37-28. Struggling sophomore guard Mardy Collins missed his first five shots.
In the second half the Knights hot shooting continued as they connected on three straight shots from beyond the arc, extending their lead 63-48 with eight minutes left. The Knights’ lead ballooned to 20 points in the second half. Collins started hitting his shots, but the Knights were too much for the Owls to handle.
Temple was led by Collins, who shot 8 of 16 for 22 points. Twenty of his 22 points came in the second half while senior guard David Hawkins finished with 18. Sophomore center Keith Butler had eight points on 2 of 5 shooting, but did not attempt a shot in the second half. The Owls were out-rebounded 42-26.
Prior to the game Temple coach JohnChaney suspended sophomore forward Michael Blackshear for the remainder of the semester for breaking team rules. Blackshear will miss the next five games (including last night) and then Chaney will re-evaluate his position on the team. Blackshear averaged 3.0 points and 3.0 rebounds in the three games he played. He started the season opener against Villanova in place of Butler, who was injured at the time.
Temple’s next game is this Saturday against Drexel at the Palestra.
Slow as molasses
The inauspicious start has been plagued with a lack of defensive firepower and poor shooting. Are Chaney and Hawkins worried?
Not one bit.
While Chaney’s teams are known for finishing seasons on a high note, they are also notorious for slow starts. In the past three seasons the Owls have suffered losing streaks of at least five games or longer during the first two months of play. Since 2000, Temple has accumulated a 10-22 record in the months of November and December.
Hawkins is not concerned, but vows this team will not have a repeat of last year’s 0-5 start.
“Not really,” he said about letting it happen again. “I’m trying to let the other guys know that I’m not going to allow that to happen. I tell them to listen to what coach is saying; he’s been doing this for years, so no matter what it is or how crazy it sounds, you got to listen to him.”
It’s still too early to tell what will become of this squad, but Butler’s return was encouraging. He played 32 minutes against Illinois with eight points, three rebounds and three blocks. While the rest of the Owls have been sleepwalking through the first couple games, Chaney has said only Hawkins and Butler are playing to his satisfaction.
“You figure you got a couple of elements on the floor, with new kids it takes a while for them to learn what they’re doing.”
Sophomores start in slump
After last night’s loss to Rutgers, sophomores Maurice Collins and Antywane Robinson have shot a combined 17 for 46 from the field and committed seven turnovers.
In last weekend’s loss to No. 12 Illinois, Chaney said the Fighting Illini didn’t surprise the Owls with anything out of the ordinary, it was simply a lack of execution on Temple’s part.
“Antywane Robinson was too slow for us, and he’s a sophomore,” Chaney said. “He’s very disappointing, extremely disappointing….Mardy missing foul shots. Point guards should never miss foul shots because he’s the guy that’s most likely to be fouled, especially in tight games. So I’ve lost confidence in him right now.”
Robinson’s anemic play continued last night against Rutgers, as he only played 20 minutes and put up just one shot.
But Chaney was pleased with Collins’ replacement, freshman Mario Taybron. Taybron started in place of Salisbery against Rutgers and tallied five points and six assists. He also added an assist and made three steals against Illinois, but is still getting acclimated to the collegiate level.
While Collins and Robinson still have spots in the starting lineup, both have been working overtime to develop more consistency. Collins has been concentrating on his jump shot while Robinson has been searching for better ways to free himself in the frontcourt.
“I just got to try even harder and keep going to the basket like he wants me to do,” Robinson said. “I just have to pick my shots carefully.”
Jason S. Haslam can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chris Silva can be reached at email@example.com.