Lynn Greer knows he is an integral part of making the Temple men’s basketball team operate.
He knows that he is the consummate veteran; the one who needs to take good shots and more importantly take care of the ball.
Greer did not possess those attributes on Thursday as No. 16 Temple fell to No. 5 Florida 72-64 in the first-round of the Coaches versus Cancer tournament at Madison Square Garden. Temple plays No. 2 Maryland, who lost to Arizona on Thursday, Friday at 6:30 p.m. (ESPN2).
Greer was an uncharacteristic 4-of-19 from the field. He scored a team-high 15 points. But Greer also had a career-high six turnovers.
“I took a couple of bad shots,” Greer said. “It happens sometimes, I am upset we lost but I will get over that quick. I just have to have some more faith in my teammates.”
Greer, one of five Temple seniors, did not have a lot of help to break Florida’s constant full-court pressure.
Normally when facing the pressure, Greer would count on David Hawkins to help bring the ball across mid-court. But Hawkins is out of action until mid-December due to academic ineligibility.
Coach John Chaney spoke after the game about what would have been different if Hawkins was available.
“I would hasten to say that if David (Hawkins) was in this ballgame then the press would not have been a problem for us at all, just like it wasn’t last year,” Chaney said.
So Greer must count on the likes of freshman Nile Murray, and sophomore Brian Polk to carry some of the load.
Chaney depended on the 1-2 punch of Kevin Lyde and Ron Rollerson to help in the middle. That plan spoiled quickly as Lyde picked up two quick fouls and Rollerson was left to fill in at the center.
Murray started the game and played extremely well. He hit one three and one shot while knocking down 5-of-8 from the line. He also pulled down five rebounds.
Polk looked a little bit discombobulated as he entered the game but played better than in Temple’s exhibition game against the Ezybonds. He did provide some offense for the team. He shot 2-of-4 from the field, while knocking down a healthy three pointer.
But the new cast of characters that Temple displayed was not enough to overcome an impressive return by Florida’s Justin Hamilton and the even more impressive debut of freshman David Lee.
Hamilton returned from an ACL injury that ended his 2000-01 season prematurely. He looked as if he did not miss a beat. He paced Florida with 17 points including three 3-pointers.
Lee scored 15 points for the Gators, including a few rim-rattling dunks.
He also made an unbelievable defensive play ripping the ball away from Temple’s Alex Wesby on an inbound play with one hand and going in for the uncontested lay-in.
On this night however that was not the only turnover that Temple committed.
The Owls did not take care of the ball as they compiled 15 turnovers. Florida converted the turnovers into 23 points to Temple’s 13 points off Florida miscues.
Alex Wesby was a horrific 3-of-13 from the field and was chastised by Chaney after the game for his effort.
“Alex did a terrible job as the third guard,” Chaney said. “He did an absolutely horrible job.”
Greg Jefferson only played four minutes and said after the game that he had a hip pointer. The temple trainers were addressing the issue and Jefferson was hopeful he’d suit up tonight against Maryland.
“They are a much better team than they were last year,” Chaney said of Florida. “How do you measure that against a much weaker Temple team this year? It’s very difficult.”