Williams explodes in Big 5 opener

Sophomore forward Mark Williams had a career-high 24, leading the Owls to a 76-67 win against Penn Tuesday night.

Temple forward Mark Williams finished the game with 24 points. Hua Zong TTN

Midway through the second half, Mark Williams spun toward the basket and converted a hook shot for two.

It was a move rarely seen from the sophomore forward during his time at Temple, but allegedly one of his favorites.

“When I came in I used to always do that, coach Dunphy kind of drilled it out of me,” Williams said.

Was his coach happy about him doing the move during the Owls’ 76-67 win over Penn Tuesday night?

“As long as you make it,” Williams said, laughing.

Williams’ career night featured 24 points to go along with five rebounds, three on the offensive end as the Owls handed Penn its fourth straight loss to start the season.

The Quakers led for just 29 seconds of the game, despite being close throughout the game.

“They probably played better than we did but we managed to win the game,” coach Fran Dunphy said. “I’m proud of our guys for that, we only turned the ball over two times in the second half.”

Williams, who averages 5.3 points per game and eight rebounds per game, drained 3-pointers in the first half.

Senior point guard Will Cummings took a step in gradually increasing his field goal percentage, which sat at 32.1 percent prior to the game. Cummings ended the game with 16 points and a 54.5 shooting percentage from the field.

Cummings also tallied five assists and seven rebounds in the win, recovering from a one-assist performance against the University of Nevada-Las Vegas last Saturday night.

The Quakers’ junior guard Tony Hicks fouled out of the game midway through the second half, before fouling out, Hicks led Penn 17 points.

Adding a spark off the bench once again was sophomore guard Josh Brown, who finished the game with 11 points.

Brown, who has averaged 8.5 points per game on 22.8 minutes per game, has taken on the role as sixth man for the squad in the beginning of the season.

Turnovers plagued the Quakers, committing 18 during the game, resulting in 21 points off turnovers for the Owls.

Off the heels of a lackluster performance against UNLV, in which he shot 25 percent from the field and scored four points, Brown’s resurgence earned him extra minutes in the game.

While the Quakers found themselves behind for the majority of the game, they were within three points with less than two minutes in the game.

However, following the final two points of Williams’ night by way of free throw and a defensive stop, the Owls moved to a seven-point lead in the final minute of the contest.

The Owls were outrebounded by the Quakers, finishing the game on the losing side of a 37-29 ratio, including 14 offensive rebounds that resulted in 18 second-chance points.

The Owls will set their sights on Sunday’s matchup against Long Island University-Brooklyn this Sunday.

The Blackbirds dropped their first two games of the year, most recently dropping a 74-70 overtime game against St. Joseph’s.

EJ Smith can be reached at esmith@temple.edu or on Twitter @ejsmitty17.

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