The Temple fans at the Liacouras Center Friday night were ready to put a miserable 9-22 season from 2013-14 behind them. The Owls’ players seemed eager to do so as well, storming out of the gate to take a 10-0 lead against American University less than four minutes into the game.
The Owls’ play would begin to deteriorate from there, however, as they soon found their lead cut to 13-9. Temple would close the half on a 10-2 run to head to the locker room up 23-11, but it was far from pretty.
“There strategy was to just stand on the three-point line and stay in that zone,” Will Cummings said. “That was the first time I’ve seen a zone like that in my life.”
With the Eagles’ zone defense remaining strong, Temple would find themselves unable to extend their lead early in the second half, as American closed within five with 14:26 remaining in the game.
“We didn't do a very good job obviously against it,” Dunphy said of Temple’s struggles against American’s defense. “It’s a really good zone. They do a really great job of moving it and covering every passing lane imaginable.”
The Owls would go on a 14-8 run over the next 11 minutes and change, extending their lead to 39-28. American would have one last charge remaining in them, however, closing to within two points with just 14 seconds remaining.
Temple would hang on in the end, winning 40-37, as the Owls’ high-scoring offense from a year ago seemed a distant memory, but luckily so did last season’s shaky defense.
“I’m pretty glad how we started the season on defense,” Cummings said.
But the Owls aren’t ready to assume the ship has been righted after just one win.
“I mean we started with a win last year and things didn’t turn out so well,” Cummings said. “We’re ready to put this win behind us.”
By: Kyle Babcock
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