Owls overcome slow start to win second straight
Josh Brown scored a career-high 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting and tied a career-high with seven rebounds as Temple played past a sloppy first half to knock-off Louisiana Tech 82-75.
The Owls moved to 2-0 after overcoming a four-point first half deficit to beat LA Tech (1-1) by opening up with a 10-point run after intermission. After taking a 39-38 lead, Temple led the last 18:33 of the game, by as many as 12 points in the later stages of the game.
Guards Quenton DeCosey and Will Cummings led all Temple scorers with 20 points each. Raheem Appleby led LA Tech with 26 points.
Temple doubled its point total from the season-opener against American University. Four players notched double-digit scoring totals for the Owls, sophomore forward Mark Williams led the team with 10 rebounds.
The 17 points for Brown came largely as a result of early foul trouble by Cummings and DeCosey. Brown opened up a key sequence in the sequence with 14:38 remaining in the second half. Brown hit a three pointer, then stole the ball on defense and took it the length of the court for a layup.
“I mentioned it to a couple of people, that if you were asking who made the biggest stride from one year to the next, Josh was it,” coach Fran Dunphy said. “He really did a good job I’m proud of Josh.”
“I told coach after last season, that I was going to be in the gym all summer,” Brown said.
Temple was frustrated by LA Tech’s full-court defense in the first half, committing seven turnovers in the frame. The Owls finished with 14 turnovers, and were out-scored on the fast-break 15-6.
The Bulldogs used 11 players before the first half had ended to enable the fast-pace.
“It wasn’t a thing of beauty handling the pressure all the time,” Dunphy said. “I think Louisiana Tech is a hard team to play against, and I think we did a good job weathering that storm.”
Temple was able to expand its lead largely through its defensive play. The Owls held LA Tech to 40.3 percent shooting from the field, but held a plus-8 rebounding margin.
The fast-paced game led to a smaller lineup for the Owls. Junior forward Devontae Watson played 15 minutes, and senior forward Jimmy McDonnell played 8. The team’s only freshman, forward Obi Enechionyia played 21 minutes in his second collegiate game, finishing with six points and four rebounds.
“[Enechionyia] was real good, and has a lot of potential,” DeCosey said. “He’s going to continue to get better throughout the season.”
Brown was one of two players to foul out for the Owls. After tying for the team-lead in scoring in the season-opener, redshirt-sophomore forward Daniel Dingle scored 11 points, but fouled out after playing 28 minutes in the contest.
The physical game took its toll on LA Tech as well as two Bulldogs fouled out. Temple went to the foul line 49 times, shooting 69 percent.
Cummings, who led the team with 18 free-throw attempts, shot 1-of-13 from the field in the season opener, shot 3-of-13 against the Bulldogs.
“I’m not really sure what’s happening, but we’re winning,” Cummings said. “I don’t really care what I’m doing as long as we are winning.”
After finishing the home-portion of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic undefeated, Temple will face Duke in the Barclays Center on Friday, Nov. 21. The Owls will then face Stanford or UNLV in the finale on Saturday.
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