Dunn’s 22-point game gives Temple a bounce-back win over ECU
Written by: RJ Franceschini
Photo by: Andrew Mayo
Temple men’s basketball (11-9, 5-2 American Athletic Conference) pulled off a 10-point comeback against East Carolina University (10-10, 1-6 AAC) to win 73-58 at The Liacouras Center.
The Owls, who were nine-point favorites before the game, struggled in the first half, scoring only 12 points in the first 12 minutes of the game. They were unable to contain the ECU offense, letting the Pirates grab 13 offensive rebounds and take a 21-12 lead.
The Owls were without sophomore forward Jamille Reynolds, a big presence inside before his injury Dec. 10 against Penn, for the eighth game in a row. Reynolds averaged 11.1 points and 6.3 rebounds a game before his injury.
ECU guards RJ Felton and Quentin Diboundje were able to secure seven of those 13 rebounds in the first half. The Pirates led by 10 points before the Owls could get back to within just one point in the final minute of the game. However, ECU was able to extend the lead to 33-28 going into halftime.
However, the ECU defense couldn’t stop fouling the Owls, as guard Damian Dunn went to the line 3 times before the end of the first half.
“We played like a team that was fighting to be at the bottom,” Temple head coach Aaron McKie said. “We talked about all of this, all the fundamentals of the game, all throughout the summer.”
The game then became a tale of two halves, as the Owls came out swinging on offense with a dunk from sophomore guard Jahlil White and a 23-foot three-pointer from sophomore guard Hysier Miller which tied the game up at the 15:28 mark of the second half for the first time since the opening seconds of the game.
At that point, the momentum shifted back into Temple’s favor.
The Owls found success off fast breaks and forcing turnovers, and they were able to take a 14-point lead when Dunn hit free throws to cap off a 20-2 Temple run with 6:36 left in the game.
“We got to play on two feet and play in the paint,” McKie said. “It’s how you want to control the game.”
Dunn led the game in scoring with 22 points, shooting 3-8 from the field and going 16-18 from the free throw line.
Guard Khalif Battle also contributed greatly, scoring 20 points, shooting 2-8 from three, 7-14 from the field, and 4-4 from the free throw line.
Though the Owls won the game thanks to a strong second half, McKie acknowledged the win would have been easier without the team’s struggles in the first half.
“It’s simple, but we make it difficult,” McKie said. “We make the game a little harder than we need to for ourselves.”
Following tonight’s win, Temple will hit the road, traveling to Houston to face the No. 1 Cougars Sunday Jan. 22 at 3 p.m. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN.
One thought on “Dunn’s 22-point game gives Temple a bounce-back win over ECU”
Nice write up on the basketball game.