The men’s basketball team may have been playing its first game at McGonigle Hall since 1997, but the Owls continued the winning ways they started Dec. 1 at Western Michigan and built on at the Liacouras Center.
With a 63-39 win against Bowling Green, No. 18 Temple increased its winning streak to six games. The Owls (10-2) will have a chance to run it to seven games before they face No. 1 Kansas Jan. 2. Temple plays at Northern Illinois Dec. 30.
“At Seton Hall, it was Scootie Randall’s night,” coach Fran Dunphy said. “Tonight, it was Ramone Moore’s night. We have the three-and-change fixtures. Lavoy Allen…Ryan Brooks…Juan Fernandez have to be good each night, and Luis Guzman just has to be solid each and every night out. That’s what good teams do. Somebody steps up. Tonight, it was Ramone Moore’s night, and I’m very, very happy for him.
“It’s been a hard road to get to where we are, and it’s going to be an even harder road to try and stay there because we have some great games coming up, and we haven’t even started our league yet,” Dunphy added.
Like their win against Seton Hall Dec. 19, the Owls once again had a lengthy time off between games, this time nine days.
And like that win against Seton Hall, which featured three 3-pointers from sophomore forward Scootie Randall, another Temple sophomore stepped up in this win. Sophomore guard Ramone Moore came off the bench and set a new career high in points with 17. His previous career high came Nov. 21 against Siena, when he recorded 16 points. In the first half alone, Moore shot 4-of-5 and scored nine consecutive points. He had not even finished with that many points since his 10 points in the Owls’ last loss, Nov. 28, against Saint John’s in the Philly Hoop Group Classic finale at the Palestra.
“It was great,” Moore said. “I got the opportunity to come in and give the team a boost in the first half. [I’m not worried about my playing time since] we’ve been winning. I’ve been satisfied with that. Do a good job, and I’ll be able to get the minutes. I think you just go in next game and be able to do the same thing. Grabbing rebounds, passing the ball, not just scoring.”
“He was great,” said senior guard Ryan Brooks, who scored a game-high 19 points. “He provided a tremendous spark at a time in the game when we needed to separate ourselves from the opposition.”
Bowling Green (5-5) kept it close at the start and even led at 7-6 13 minutes, 23 seconds into the game, but Temple quickly went on a 13-0 run. The Falcons did not score for almost nine minutes in the first half, and the Owls increased their lead to as large as 19 points as they entered the locker room at halftime ahead, 32-13. The Falcons shot 4-for-24, or 16.7 percent, in the first half. Their team outrebounded Temple’s junior forward Lavoy Allen by just one, and their leading scorer, senior center Otis Polk, who averages 10.3 points per game, did not make a basket.
“I think the sky’s the limit defensively,” Brooks said. “We all buy in and stay focused. We thought the second half we were as focused as we could have been at times. There are definitely things we can learn from.”
The Falcons opened the second half on a 16-7 run that cut the Owls’ lead to 10 points. Brooks and junior forward Craig Williams then hit back-to-back 3-pointers. Bowling Green never got that close again. The Falcons finished the game 3-for-15 on 3-pointers and shot 27.8 percent from the field overall. Only one of their players, sophomore guard Dee Brown, finished in double figures. Polk ended the game with four points. The Owls held their opponent to the fewest points since a Feb. 22, 2006 60-39 win against Richmond.
Game Notes: Ranked No. 21 in the Associated Press poll last week, the Owls jumped three spots this week to No. 18 despite being idle. Temple men’s basketball had not been nationally ranked since 2001…The Owls are now 3-0 all-time against Bowling Green…Prior to this game, the Falcons had not faced a ranked team in the last two seasons. Their last such meeting came against then-No. 23 Kent State on March 1, 2008. The Falcons won that game…Sophomore center Micheal Eric started for the first time since re-injuring his right knee (sprained medial collateral ligament) against then-No. 3 Villanova. He played nine minutes and grabbed one rebound. Dunphy said Eric’s knee is fine and that “he just needs to play more basketball.” Brooks added that “when [Eric’s] out there I think we have an advantage with him and Lavoy out there. We just look forward to having everybody healthy.”…Fernandez left the game with about three minutes remaining. Dunphy said it “looked like somebody else’s knee just banged him in the [left] thigh, but he looks to be OK.”
Jennifer Reardon can be reached at email@example.com.