Temple began its “post-Pepe Sanchez” era Sunday with a 90-62 exhibition win over the California East All-Stars. The Owls opened the game with a 27-11 run that put the game away early and were never threatened.
Senior guard Quincy Wadley led the Owls with a game-high 23 points. Junior forward Alex Wesby, who will try to replace leading scorer Mark Karcher this season, posted 22 points and nine rebounds.
Four of John Chaney’s five starters scored in double figures, including Lynn Greer and “Big Ron” Rollerson who netted 15 points and 10 points, respectively. Greer, whose play at the point guard position could make or break the Owls season, dished out a team-high seven assists, but was only 4-of-19 shooting.
Chaney had Temple play man-to-man defense the entire game, while only using a seven-player rotation. Starting center Kevin Lyde did not dress for the game.
Among those who did see some playing time were newcomer David Hawkins and seldom-used veterans Mamadou Cellou Barry and Greg Jefferson.
Hawkins, a 6’4″ freshman from Washington D.C., was a starting forward for the Owls. In 36 minutes he tallied nine points and five rebounds. Barry also played solid defense at the power forward position, collecting nine rebounds and three steals to go with his five points.
But it was Greg Jefferson (six points and nine rebounds) who pulled off the highlight of the evening.
With the game well in hand about midway through the second half, Jefferson crashed the offensive glass off out of nowhere to make a spectacular tip-in dunk that was reminiscent of former Duke star – and current Los Angeles Clipper – Corey Maggette’s dunk against Temple in the 1999 NCAA Elite Eight. The dunk garnered the loudest pop of the afternoon in an otherwise meaningless scrimmage.
The California East All-Stars brought a few familiar faces from the West coast. Former Philadelphia high school star and University of Maryland product Terrell Stokes was the starting point-guard, scoring nine points and seven assists. His backcourt mate was former St. Bonaventure shooting-guard David Messiah Capers, who played against the Owls in the Atlantic 10 from 1996-2000.
The All-Stars were led by forwards Rashad Tucker (14 points, 6 rebounds) and Steve Carney (11 points 7 rebounds).
Ironically, Karcher was listed on the All-Stars’ roster, but was not in the arena. According to officials, he cited prior commitment as his reason for absence.
One prominent ’99-’00 Owl was in attendance however.
Former Temple point guard and current Philadelphia 76er Sanchez was in the arena to watch his former team. He made an Allen Iverson-like entrance at the start of the second half, just without the large entourage and decorative fanfare.
The Owls will open their regular season Monday with a Preseason NIT game against the cross-state rival Delaware Blue Hens. Tipoff is at 7:30pm at the Liacouras Center.