With seven minutes and 22 seconds left in the game, junior guard Nate Pierre-Louis stole the ball and drove down the court to make a lay up, forcing Drexel coach Zach Spiker to call a timeout.
The play was the end of a 16-2 run from Temple (1-0) and led the team to a 70-62 win against Drexel (0-1) Tuesday night at the Liacouras Center.
Despite the win, coach Aaron McKie was not completely satisfied with his team’s performance in his debut as coach.
“I’ll take the win,” McKie said. “We gotta do better at decision-making. We wanna be the team that’s turning the opponent, not us turning. A lot of our turnovers were careless. It wasn’t like that team was pressuring us. We were just careless with the ball.”
Before the run, Drexel led Temple 40-38 with 14 minutes and 15 seconds remaining in the game.
From that point on, Temple took control of the game. The Owls outscored the Dragons 30-22 in the final 13 minutes and 54 seconds of the game.
The Dragons did not let the game get out of control. A three-point play by Dragons senior guard Zach Walton, with one minute and five seconds remaining, cut Temple’s lead to 65-60. Walton finished the night with eight points.
Freshman forward T.J. Bickerstaff led the Dragons with 16 points and added seven rebounds. Sophomore guard Cameron Wynter added 15 points and six assists. Junior forward James Butler added seven points and led the team with 15 rebounds.
“We scored a little bit late, we opened it up and we got in the paint,” Spiker said.
Pierre-Louis led the Owls with 16 points, 10 rebounds and five steals. His steals led to breakways by the Owls and fewer scoring opportunities for Drexel.
“We started focusing more on the defensive side, especially on my end,” Pierre-Louis said. “I was a little out of in the first half and I usually bring the intensity defensively.”
Senior guard Quinton Rose added 14 points and shot two-of-four from beyond the three-point line.
Junior forward J.P. Moorman II and senior guard Alani Moore II compiled nine points and five rebounds each.
Junior forwards Justyn Hamilton and De’Vondre Perry and redshirt-junior guard Monty Scott each contributed six points. Hamilton added five rebounds, while Perry and Scott had three rebounds each.
Even though seven Owls grabbed at least three rebounds, Drexel still out-rebounded Temple 46-39. The Dragons grabbed twice as many offensive rebounds as the Owls, earning a 16-8 advantage.
“Guys would get out there and miss an assignment, they’re coming out,” McKie said. “They miss a rebound, they’re coming out. There’s no questions, they understand that.”
Despite the win, the Owls have plenty to improve on after their first game of the season, Moorman II said. Temple will next host Morgan State University on Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Liacouras Center.
“I think it’s great that we got the win, but I didn’t think we played well,” Moorman II said. “We just gotta keep getting better. We got a long road ahead of us. We got a lot of work to do.”