Temple men’s basketball shooting woes overshadow wins

Temple has shot 64.4 percent from the free-throw line and 25.5 percent from behind the arc.

Junior guard Nate Pierre-Louis jumps for a basket during the Owls’ 75-57 win against Morgan State University at the Liacouras Center on Nov 9. | JUSTIN OAKES / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Even though Temple University men’s basketball has started 2-0, the team is trying to improve its offense, coach Aaron McKie said.

In the Owls’ 75-57 win against Morgan State University on Saturday, they missed 12 free throws and shot 7-of-32 on three-point attempts. 

Against Drexel on Nov. 5, the Owls only shot 5-of-15 from beyond the arc and missed four free throws against the Dragons.

“I can’t correct it,” McKie said after Temple’s win against Morgan State on Saturday. “It’s something they gotta get in the gym and work on. I thought we got some good looks. We’ll make those shots. We certainly wanna be a team that gets out in transition, but we also have to convert.”

This spring, Temple graduated its best free throw shooter and second-best three-point shooter, guard Shizz Alston Jr., who converted on 35 percent of his three-point shots, while making 90 percent of his free throws. 

Senior guard Alani Moore II had the second-best free throw percentage last season at 78 percent.

Senior guard Quinton Rose and junior guard Nate Pierre-Louis are the only two players this season to attempt more than 10 free throws. Rose is 9-of-14 from free throws and Pierre-Louis is 11-of-17, both of which are at 64 percent.

“Sometimes, I think it’s who you are,” McKie said. “You can certainly work at it and get better at it. We’ll be able to make shots…We certainly have to continue to work at that and free throw shooting as well.”

In its win against the Bears, the Owls heavily relied on its defense. Temple forced 19 turnovers off the Bears and scored 27 points off turnovers. 

Pierre-Louis has been leading the Owls’ defensive charge.  He secured double-digit rebounds in each of the first two games and grabbed 10 rebounds against Drexel. Eight of those were defensive rebounds. Pierre-Louis then followed that up with 11 rebounds against Morgan State.

Pierre-Louis also has 11 steals through the first two games. His steals have been a big part of the Owls’ 40 points off turnovers this season.

“My charge with [Pierre-Louis] is you gotta concentrate on being the best defender in the country and one of the best rebounding guards in the country as well,” McKie said on Oct. 29. “He’s willing to take on that challenge.” 

Despite dominating on defense, the Owls have not been efficient in rebounding. Drexel won the rebounding battle against Temple 46-39. Temple lost 16-8 in offensive rebounds against the Dragons. 

Temple allowed Drexel junior forward James Butler to grab 15 rebounds, despite only scoring seven points.

Morgan State outrebounded Temple 45-42, but the Owls had 15 offensive rebounds to the Bears’ 12. The Bears held a 33-27 advantage in defensive rebounds.

“We take it every bit personally,” junior forward J.P. Moorman II said after the Drexel game. “We failed in that department. It’s not gonna take us where we wanna go. We got big goals and big aspirations.”

Temple will look to improve its offense and rebounding on Saturday against Big 5 rival La Salle (1-0) at 2 p.m. at Tom Gola Arena.

The Explorers grabbed 48 rebounds in their game against Iona College on Nov. 9. Redshirt-junior guard Scott Spencer led with nine. 

“It’s the first two games of the season, so we’re still trying to figure it out,” Pierre-Louis said. “We’re all in. We’re all in to work on our free throws. We’re all in to shooting our jump shots. We just gotta stay true to it.”

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