Temple dominates Bloomsburg in bounce-back win

Temple Men’s Basketball used a 27-8 run in the first half to cruise past the Division II Huskies, as six different players scored in double-digits in its 85-65 win Wednesday.

Forward Steve Settle III played one of his better games of the season so far in Temple's 85-55 rout of Bloomsburg. | ROBERT JOSEPH CRUZ / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Following their loss against Saint Joseph’s in the Big 5 Classic Championship Saturday, Temple Men’s Basketball needed to regain momentum before entering conference play in just a few weeks.

The Owls had the perfect opportunity to pick up a win when Division II Bloomsburg came to North Broad Street Wednesday. Temple took advantage of the Huskies’ weak defense, which allowed more than 94 points per game entering the matchup, with a 27-8 run in the first half and carried that momentum for the rest of the game.

Temple (5-3, 0-0 American Athletic Conference) dominated Bloomsburg (2-5, 0-0 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference) 85-55 Wednesday night at The Liacouras Center. Six Owls scored in double-figures in the contest, led by guard Jordan Riley’s game-high 16 points.

“We have 14 guys,” said Temple head coach Adam Fisher. “That’s our biggest thing we talk about all the time: we have 14 guys, and we need everybody. I think our leadership in the locker room has been really good, and that comes from the players.”

Riley started his fourth consecutive game in place of injured guard Jahlil White and was key on the defensive end, earning multiple stops and a block late in the first half. Riley has played well on both sides of the court since being inserted in the starting lineup, adding a team-high three blocks to his point total.

“He missed a bunch of time early, so he’s just starting to get back into it,” Fisher said. “I love the way he’s rebounding the basketball right now, he’s scoring, he’s doing a lot of good things for us.”

Despite their first-half run, the Owls played sloppy on the offensive side of the court. Bloomsburg forced nine first-half turnovers and stayed within striking distance before Temple pulled away.

The Owls countered the Huskies’ defense with impressive defense of their own. Temple shut Bloomsburg down almost all night offensively, as the Huskies turned the ball over 17 times. Temple’s defense also stifled Bloomsburg’s shooting, as the Huskies hit just 32 percent of their shots. 

However, Temple’s key was its shooting, which looked efficient for the first time this season. The Owls shot 50 percent from the field in the first half and finished the game at a season-high 48 percent.

Owls’ guard Matteo Picarelli led the team in points in the first half with eight, and Riley and guard Zion Stanford chipped in with six and seven points, respectively. Temple went into halftime up 42-20.

“I think, for the most part, we are taking the right shots,” Fisher said. “We’re trying to figure out some of these pieces together, and we’ve been going through that. But, I’m proud. These guys are going to keep shooting, and I want them to have the confidence to work on their game.”

Temple picked up right where it left off out of halftime. The Owls scored a quick eight points in the first five minutes and went into cruise control, as they led by 28 points less than five minutes into the second half.

Forward Steve Settle III began the season relatively quietly, but throughout Temple’s last three games, he has taken significant strides offensively, averaging 11 points in that span and playing with a new confidence with the ball in his hands. Settle finished with 10 points, six rebounds and a season-high five assists. 

“It’s the first couple games of the season,” Settle said. “Obviously, I’m not shooting the ball or being as efficient as I would like to be, but the guys haven’t lost any confidence in me. I feel like the work is always gonna show, and these guys know what I can do.”

The Owls will travel to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York for their next game when they play Albany (6-3, 0-0 American East Conference) in the NABC Brooklyn Showcase on Dec. 10 at 7 p.m.

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