Oh what a difference a year can make.
The Owls entered Saturday’s contest allowing just 62.1 points per game, and they would put that vastly improved defense on display against Tulane.
Temple would hold the Green Wave to just eight first half points, the lowest amount ever scored in a half at the Liacouras Center, on their way to a 55-37 win.
While the defense would be the story of this game, Temple’s offense didn’t get off to a bad start either, as Quenton DeCosey knocked down back-to-back threes to open the game. With the help of some stops early, the Owls would extend their lead to 12-0 just under four minutes in.
“I think it got us off to a great start,” DeCosey said of his early threes. “Knocking down shots got contagious and everybody started knocking down shots. I just wanted to come out aggressive and my teammates found me.”
Temple would continue to pile on, stretching their lead to 18 with 7:40 remaining in the first half before being held scoreless for 5:34. Fortunately for Fran Dunphy, his squad continued to excel on defense even while the offense was floundering, holding Tulane scoreless for a stretch of 5:39 before heading to the half with a 28-8 lead.
“Our defense in the first half was incredible,” DeCosey said. “Everybody did a good job really locking down on defense. We were getting three, four stops in a row, so we did a great job.”
The Owls would hold the Green Wave to just 12.5 percent (3-for-24) shooting in the first half as they went to the locker room with a 20 point cushion.
Temple’s offense would emerge from the locker room still struggling, but the Owls would remain poised on defense, not allowing Tulane to get closer than 13.
As the Owls defense continued to put on a clinic, three Temple players hit double digits in points to help boost Temple to a 55-37 win.
DeCosey would lead all scorers, notching 17 points in the game to go along with 7 rebounds. Will Cummings would pitch in 13 points and 6 rebounds, and Obi Enechionyia would add 12 points, four rebounds and three blocks to help propel Temple to its third straight win.
“Defensively I think that’s big for energy,” Enechionyia said of his blocks. “I know when someone else makes a big defensive play I get more energized, I think the whole team is like that. I am just trying to make big defensive plays.”
For the game, the Owls would allow just one Tulane player to hit double digits in points, as the Green Wave shot just 25.9 percent from the field.
While the defense was stellar, the offense left much to be desired, something Dunphy will look for his team to improve.
“We’ll watch some film of it. We had a couple of forced shots, I thought,” Dunphy said. “We obviously need to be better distributing, inside and outside. We’re not doing that nearly well enough.”
Temple will next head down to the Sunshine State, as they face off against USF for the second time in two weeks and look to stretch their win streak to four.
“We need to keep winning. We need to win every game and there is no other thought that is going through our minds,” Dunphy said. “We have a tough week coming up, two away games. So we need to play really good basketball from here on in.”
By: Kyle Babcock
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