With eight seconds left in the game, Owls’ freshman forward Zach Hicks stole the ball off Hawks’ junior guard Kevon Voyles and passed to Owls’ sophomore guard Khalif Battle, who then finished the play with a dunk that gave the Owls a 23-point lead.
Temple University men’s basketball (1-0,0-0 The American Athletic Conference) won its first game of the season 72-49 against the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (0-2,0-0 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) Wednesday night.
“Nothing else matters in any sport you do, any competitive thing you do, is just to win,” Battle said. “I want to be known as winners, we want to be known as winners”
The Owls ran a two forward, three guard lineup, utilizing redshirt-freshman guard Damian Dunn, junior forward Sage Tolbert lll, freshman guard Jeremiah Williams and Battle for the majority of the game.
Temple made a strong defensive showing at the start of the first half, holding the Hawks to 25 points and a near six-minute scoring drought before Voyles managed to score two points in the fourth minute.
“The one thing that we rely on the most, you know, in doubt we’re always gonna defend and do our best at that,” Dunn said. “So you stay with it and stay consistent with it, and that’s something where we turn things around.”
The Hawks put 11 points on the board in the remainder of the first half, including three 3-point shots, but Williams made a 2-point shot in the paint that gave the Owls a one-point lead going into the second half of the game.
Despite a slow start in scoring, the Owls improved their scoring percentage by more than 15 percent in the second half.
Temple went from a 40.76 scoring percentage in the first half to 56.67 percent to end the game after scoring 46 points in the second half to solidify its win over the Hawks.
“I thought it was just the first game home jitters,” said head coach Aaron McKie. “Not playing in front of fans at home.”
The Hawks scored just 24 points in the second half, with the majority coming from junior guard Da’Shawn Phillip.
With four minutes left in the game, Battle was fouled by Hawks’ junior forward Kohen Thompson while shooting a 3-pointer, but made the shot as he hit the ground.
Battle made the ensuing free throw, extending Temple’s lead to 17 points.
Hicks saw his first collegiate action and showcased his shooting abilities as a six-foot seven-inch forward. Hicks converted three-of-six 3-pointers and totaled nine points in his 16 minutes played.
Battle led the team with 22 points while adding six total rebounds, and Williams led the team with four assists.
“I don’t expect any game to be seamless where everything’s perfect,” McKie said. “But there’s a lot that you can learn from games like this.”
The Owls will take on the University of Southern California (1-0,0-0, The Pac-12 Conference) on Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. at the Liacouras Center.