Bench players have been able to contribute to Temple University men’s basketball this season.
Key players have been injured in recent games and coach Aaron McKie has frequently substituted players in and out all season.
Saturday’s game was no different. In its 97-90 overtime win against Southern Methodist (16-6, 6-4 The American Athletic Conference), Temple (12-11, 4-7 The AAC) received 40 of its points from bench players.
Junior forwards J.P. Moorman II and De’Vondre Perry were out with foot injuries on Saturday. This was the first game Moorman’s missed this season. Perry’s missed five.
“We make adjustments,” McKie said. “It’s a part of the game. One man goes down, the next man has to step up. [Freshman guard] Josh [Pierre-Louis] stepped up. [Redshirt-junior guard] Monty Scott stepped up. That’s why it’s called a team.”
Scott and Pierre-Louis combined for 31 points on Saturday.
Scott averages 17.8 minutes per game and scored a season-high 22 points on 8-of-11 shooting from the field in 36 minutes of play. Scott also dished out six assists.
The last time Scott scored more than 22 points was when he played for Kennesaw State University where he scored 26 points on Feb. 26, 2018 against Jacksonville University.
Scott expected an increased role against Southern Methodist with Moorman and Perry out, he said.
“I didn’t know [Moorman and Perry] weren’t playing until I got here and it kind of made me know I had to step up for the team,” Scott added. “I always knew I could score and do multiple things for this team. I just never knew when the chance would come.”
Pierre-Louis, who plays 14.15 minutes per game, received 25 minutes of playing time on Saturday. He scored all nine of his points from the three-point line and shot 3-of-4 overall from behind the arc.
Saturday’s game was the most points Pierre-Louis amassed in a game since Dec. 21, 2019, when he scored 12 points against Rider University (14-9, 8-5 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference).
“[Pierre-Louis] seems to do that a lot,” senior guard Quinton Rose said. “Like when we’re struggling, he hits a big three to get us going. He’s done that numerous times this season. It doesn’t surprise me. I’m just happy for him. He made a big shot. He made plays, especially on defense as well. He did a good job.”
Redshirt-freshman forward Arashma Parks was injured Saturday. Parks landed on his right shoulder after a rebound attempt in the first half and did not return to the game. He had surgery on the same shoulder on Oct. 10, 2018, which forced him to redshirt his freshman year.
Parks returned to the bench in the second half with a sling over his shoulder. Parks’ injury “didn’t look good,” McKie said.
With the injuries to Moorman, Perry and Parks, the Owls only had two forwards available: junior Justyn Hamilton and sophomore Jake Forrester.
Senior center Damion Moore also received extensive playing time due to the injuries. Moore played 10 minutes and scored a season-high nine points while going a perfect 4-of-4 from the field.
The lack of forwards forced the Owls to rely more on their guards. The Owls utilized a five-guard rotation of Rose, Scott, Josh Pierre-Louis, senior Alani Moore II and junior Nate Pierre-Louis. Rose is the tallest of the five players at 6 feet, 8 inches.
“It generated a lot of offense for us,” Alani Moore II said. “Next up is rebounding because we are a little small. That’s all heart and toughness at the end of the day.”
Despite the injuries, McKie is hopeful about his team’s chances in postseason play.
“We wanna continue to try to make a statement,” McKie said. “I’m optimistic that we can finish strong and have a say in The American Conference or we have a say in potentially being a team that’s talked about in the NCAA Tournament. I’m never losing faith in that. I don’t care which direction this season is going. As long as the guys continue to fight, we’ll have a chance.”