Owls blow out Explorers

Temple University men’s basketball defeated La Salle University 73-57 on Wednesday night.

Sophomore guard Khalif Battle led the Owls with 22 points during their game against La Salle University at the Liacouras Center on Dec. 1. | NICK DAVIS / TEMPLE NEWS

Temple University men’s basketball (4-3, 0-0 The American Athletic Conference) went into halftime with a 17-point lead over La Salle University (2-4, 0-0 The Atlantic 10 Conference) on Wednesday night, and never looked back.  

The Owls’ 73-57 victory over the Explorers was due to Temple shooting well from the field and a productive defense, which grabbed 33 rebounds.    

“We still have these unforced turnovers early in games, but we settle in,” said head coach Aaron McKie. “Those guys were just trying to play catch up throughout the game. We made some shots, which is always good, but then I’m still looking for that complete forty-minute game.”

The Owls dominated the first half going on an 11-0 run, with sophomore guard Khalif Battle scoring every basket. 

Battle, who led the Owls with 22 points, made two of three 3-point attempts in the first half. At the 11-minute mark, freshman guard Hysier Miller passed to Battle at the wing and without hesitation, Battle converted the shot, making the score 17-9.

In the second half Battle had five points, one 3-pointer and one shot from the field. However, his minutes were cut short early on, when he landed awkwardly on his left foot and did not return to the game. 

“We’re standing by waiting right now,” Mckie said on Battle’s status. “Something on his ankle, foot. He’s been having some issues with his heels.” 

The Explorers broke the Owls’ run at the free-throw line in the first half.

With about seven minutes left in the first half, Temple went on a scoring drought and fell into foul trouble, allowing the Explorers to make a 7-0 run with five points coming at the free throw line, cutting the Owls lead to nine. 

The teams had a triple technical foul called after a scuffle between Owls’ freshman forward Nick Jourdain, Explorers’ sophomore guard Anwar Gill and Explorers’ freshman guard Khalil Brantley with one minute and five seconds left in the half. 

Both teams went to the line to end the half. 

The Owls continued to dominate the second half, and shot 47.5 percent from the field compared to the Explores’ 25 percent. Temple’s defense applied pressure, which forced La Salle to take tough shots, disrupting their offensive rhythm.

Both redshirt-sophomore guard Tai Strickland, who is the Owls’ fourth-highest scorer, and freshman forward Emmanuel Okpomo were sidelined due to undisclosed minor injuries. Miller and redshirt-sophomore forward Arashma Parks saw extra time on the court to fill their place. 

Strickland and Okpomo are not anticipated to return for Saturday’s game, McKie said. 

Temple will take on the University of Pennsylvania at the Liacouras Center on Dec. 4. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m.

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