Josh Safran’s Virtual College Basketball Season: Temple Survives Scare in Preseason NIT Opener (Game 3: Oral Roberts vs. TU)

Note: Josh Safran, the creator of Corona Madness, got very bored while in quarantine and wanted to see this year’s college basketball season played to completion. Thus, he used the Temple Men’s Basketball roster to play a hybrid version of their schedule in the NCAA10 video game. The team competes in the A-10 and isn’t an exact replica, but it’s here to serve your basketball boredom for now.

Written by: Josh Safran

Maybe it was starting the year off playing on back to back nights, or maybe it was just the jet lag, but from the opening tip to the closing buzzer here in Arizona, this Temple basketball team looked gassed.

The Owls made the 2,000 mile plane ride to Tempe for their first game away from home and first game on a neutral court, to do battle with Oral Roberts (1-1), a first round game of the NIT’s preseason tournament.  While most expected a blowout, Vegas included as Temple came into this game favored by 11 points, a defensive game that saw poor shooting from both sides ended in a 35-31 victory for Mckie’s bunch. 

Junior De’Vondre Perry knocked down a couple three pointers off the bench, early in the first, putting the Owls in cruise control.  However it seemed Temple could never put their foot on the gas, struggling to pull away and close the door.  

With 4:24 left in the second half, the game’s leading scorer Nate Pierre Louis sunk a three pointer for his 14th point, giving Temple a 32-27 lead. That was the last field goal the Temple Owls would make.  In fact following that basket, the teams went 2:18 of game time without scoring.  The Owls were playing on cruise control, with a flat tire, going uphill in the snow, and still somehow came out with a W.

The first half was a sign of things to come, both teams milking the shot clocks, swinging the ball around and penetrating, unable to find many holes in each other’s defenses. De’Vondre Perry came off the bench early in the first half and sparked the offense with two quick threes, but those would be his only points of the game shooting 2-of-3 from behind the arc.  One of the few bright spots for Temple on a night that saw them shoot just 28% from the field and 25% from three.  

It’s a wonder how Temple scratched and clawed to come out of round 1 with a win, but the answer is all in the numbers.  For as bad of a shooting night Temple had, Oral Roberts had an equally terrible night.  The Golden Eagles shot a slightly better 31% from the field, but were unable to make a single three all night, only attempting two.  

The biggest shock of the night, Temple did not get outrebounded for the first time this season.  Usually the biggest discrepancy in the team comparisons, Temple hung with Oral Roberts on the boards, as both teams brought down 26 rebounds.

Temple will stay in Arizona and be taking on Air Force tomorrow night in the second round of the tournament.  Temple are set at 14 point favorites going into tomorrow’s game.

View the game highlights on YouTube: https://youtu.be/c7VXVm8hvCo

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