WRITTEN BY: GREGORY FRANK
As Adam Woodbury’s putback layup fell through the basket at the end of overtime to give Iowa a 72-70 victory, Temple watched its season come to an end. The careers of three seniors who played major roles in getting the Owls back to the NCAA Tournament ended as well.
Quenton DeCosey, Jaylen Bond and Devin Coleman have all played their final games in the cherry and white. In the loss to Iowa, DeCosey led the all scorers with 26 points and added eight rebounds, while Bond added 14 points and 15 rebounds. Coleman was quiet in the Owls’ final game of the season finishing with just five points and fouling out in the overtime, but the Clemson transfer was one of Temple’s most consistent three-point shooters.
In addition to valiant efforts from DeCosey and Bond on Friday afternoon, junior guard Josh Brown finished with 16 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Brown hit two of his three attempts from three-point range and also had a vital block in the second half that helped ignite a rally.
“I thought he was fantastic on both ends of the floor,” Temple coach Fran Dunphy said. “He’s a very good player. His numbers today were awesome. It was just a wonderful performance.”
Brown will now be looked upon heading into 2016-2017 in order for Temple to make a follow-up trip to the tournament. The Newark, N.J. native has seen his role expand from largely a defensive specialist in the early stages of his career to one of the leaders for the Owls.
While Brown acknowledged Friday afternoon was the most painful loss he has ever been involved in, it only makes the junior guard hungry for what lies ahead.
“It’s motivation,” Brown said. “I’m going to take this into my offseason workout and think about it each and every day and try my best to tune up my game so next year we can get back here.”
Another player whose performance next season will have a lot to do with whether or not the Owls are able to return to the big dance is sophomore forward Obi Enechionyia. Enechionyia was the lone recruit for the Owls entering the 2014-2015 season and showed flashes of his potential on both ends of the floor during his freshman year.
Enechionyia’s sophomore campaign had plenty of twists and turns, but Temple fans should be encouraged by the consistency shown from Enechionyia from beyond the arc. He finished the season shooting 38.6 percent from three-point land after shooting 27.9 percent from downtown in his freshman season.
Despite the improvements he made this season, the sophomore forward is not satisfied with where he’s at in his Temple career.
“It’s definitely not where I want to be,” Enechionyia said. “I didn’t make enough plays today. I wasn’t aggressive enough. I didn’t get open enough. I don’t think I took enough shots. So, that’s just what I’m going to focus on in the offseason, coming back and being more consistent with my play.”
Brown and Enechionyia both took strides in the right direction this year for Temple. But in order for the Owls to have a third consecutive season with at least 20 wins and head back to the NCAA Tournament next season, Brown and Enechionyia are going to have to step up into the leadership roles left by DeCosey and Bond.