After winning a close game against Seton Hall on Friday, junior center Micheal Eric and the men’s basketball team enjoyed a blowout as the Owls defeated Toledo, 82-49, on Sunday.
Eric posted a team-high 14 points while grabbing nine rebounds, as the Owls shot 54.5 percent from the field. Senior forward Lavoy Allen scored 12 points while dishing out six assists. As a team, the Owls scored 56 points in the paint, something that the team wanted to do in order to open up the rest of the court, Eric said.
“We were able to score inside, mostly at will,” Eric said. “We wanted to score and play hard in the paint to ease it up for the guards also. If you’re a force inside, the guards will be able to penetrate also.”
Junior forward Scootie Randall made his second straight for the Owls and scored 11 points, including nine off of three-pointers. Randall also recorded two steals and played solid defense in 25 minutes. Beyond the box score, Randall has emerged as a vocal leader for the Owls, junior guard Ramone Moore said.
“Coach put into Scootie’s head that he has to be the vocal leader on the court,” Moore said. “I think he does a good job overall talking and switching on defense. That’s just something that’s needed.”
“He brings a lot of energy,” Eric added. “I think that’s what coach Dunphy sees in him and that’s why he’s out on the floor. Scootie has a lot of energy in him and he brings a lot to the team. He defends the best player out there.”
Temple dominated from the beginning, as the Owls led by 14 points with 11 minutes and 46 seconds remaining in the first half. Despite the fact that the outcome was decided early on, the Owls remained vigilant, something that Dunphy was impressed with.
“When you’re playing a team that is outmanned, you want the intensity to stay where it is,” Dunphy said. “I think after the first couple of minutes, we understood what our jobs were and we did what we had to do.”
As a team, the Owls had an assist-to-turnover ratio of 26-to-6. The Rockets had 18 turnovers in the loss.
Freshman guard Zack Leahy, a walk-on, scored a game-high 15 points for Toledo. Sophomore guard Malcolm Griffin scored a season-high 11 points for Toledo, but also had four turnovers.
Entering the season, defense was considered a question mark for the Owls as they lost guards Ryan Brook and Luis Guzman, two of last year team’s defensive leaders, to graduation. Still, the Owls limited the Rockets to a mere 38.6 shooting percentage, including 31.2 percent from beyond the arc. Making the most off defensive opportunities is crucial, Dunphy said.
“We need to be as good of a defensive team as we can,” Dunphy said. “I think we can be good, I don’t know if we can be great, but I think we can be good.”
Junior guards Ramone Moore and Juan Fernandez scored 12 and 10 points, respectively. Sophomore guard T.J. DiLeo played 20 minutes and scored four points while grabbing three rebounds and dishing out two assists. Sophomore guard Khalif Wyatt scored four points and recorded three steals in 16 minutes of play.
The Cherry and White will now have more than a week of rest before their next game. The Owls will face off with California on Nov. 25 in the opening round of the Old Spice Classic, held in Orlando, FL.
Game Notes: The 32 points was the largest margin of victory for Temple since February 7, 2007 when the Owls defeated St. Bonaventure, 109-70. The game marked the first time that five Owls scored in double-digits since January 31, 2009.
Kyle Gauss can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org