Quenton DeCosey positioned himself in the left corner behind the three point line Saturday during the Owls’ 78-63 win against Delaware State as Dan Dingle stood with the ball adjacent to the senior guard.
Dingle fired a pass to senior forward Jaylen Bond, who set up at the left elbow. As soon as the ball hit Bond’s hands, he rifled a pass to DeCosey—who drew a foul on Delaware State’s senior forward Jason Owens.
DeCosey converted all three free throws on his way to a team-high 20 points, 12 of which came from the line.
As a team, the Owls shot 30-of-38 from free throw line, while shooting 22-of-62 from the field—including making four-of-27 3-pointers
“We shot it very poorly,” coach Fran Dunphy said. “We are going to take what the defense gives us.”
In the squad last two games, Temple has shot nine-of-49 from 3-point range and 25-of-131 from the field.
“We got to get our confidence to the point where everyone feels good stepping up and making shots,” Dunphy said.
After trailing by as many as seven points in the first half, the Owls led by 11 points in the early minutes of the second half after Bond split a pair of free throws with 19 minutes remaining.
The Hornets responded with a 9-0 run, capped off by and-one from junior guard DeAndre Haywood to brings Delaware State within two, 39-37, with 16:23 on the clock.
“We knew they were going to come in and play hard, but we didn’t expect them to come and play as hard as they did,” freshman Trey Lowe said. “That is on us for not preparing for them.”
For the next four minutes, the Owls never led by more than six points, as the winless Hornets hung around with the help of Haywood, who scored a game-high 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting.
“We didn’t guard well off the dribble,” Dunphy said. “I thought we got beat of the dribble way too many times.”
With 11:58 on the clock, redshirt junior forward Daniel Dingle’s layup gave the Owls a 10 point lead, and the Hornets could not trim the Owls’ lead to less than eight points over the final 11 minutes of play.
DeCosey and junior guard Josh Brown, who finished the game with 14 points, were the lone Owls to score in double figures, and two of the nine Owls to see action shot 50 percent or more from the field.
The Owls played much of the second half without sophomore forward Obi Enechionyia, who picked up two fouls in the first half, as well as two in the second half. The forward scored six points in 12 minutes, which was a season low.
“We can’t have Obi playing 12 minutes,” Dunphy said. “Two of our inside guys—Jaylen against St. Joe’s [Dec. 13], and Obi didn’t play enough minutes today. … Those are things we will talk about and think about.”
The Hornets jumped out to an early 7-3 lead after sophomore forward Dana Raysor knocked down a jump shot with 15:52 on the clock.
On Delaware State’s next possession, a 3-pointer from Raysor gave the Hornet’s their largest lead of the half. The forward scored nine of his 11 points in the first half on 2-of-5 shooting.
“I was definitely worried, and I’m sure my teammates were as well,” DeCosey said. But down the stretch, we did a decent job of closing it down. We have mistakes we have to correct.”
Enechionyia, the team’s’ second leading scorer, picked up two fouls and was substituted out for the rest of the half at the 15:20 mark with the Owls trailing by four. The sophomore finished the half with three points.
“We didn’t make any shots early,” Dunphy said. “I thought we had some clean looks on those shots.”
The Hornets regained and held onto the lead until a 3-pointer from Lowe with 4:16 seconds left gave the Owls a 26-24 lead. Lowe intercepted a Hornet’s pass on the next possession and converted a two-handed dunk to help the Owls close the half on a 12-4 run to take a 35-27 lead at halftime.
Lowe finished the game with nine points on four-of-seven shooting from the field. It was the sixth time this year the freshman has scored eight or more points.
“He is looking really good,” DeCosey said. “He’s still working on stuff like any freshman, but he’s really active when he is out there. He gave us great minutes.”
Michael Guise can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @Michael_Guise