Josh Safran’s Virtual College Basketball Season: Trojan Horse Takes North Broad (Game 1: TU vs. USC)

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

For the first time in a long time the Liacouras Center made headlines, this time not for hospital beds, but instead the long-awaited first career collegiate head coaching appearance by Temple University’s very own Aaron McKie. 

The arena was packed on Broad and Montgomery as students and alumni alike poured out of their homes, in which they had been stuck in for months, to come together and support their college basketball team.  While the fans were in a frenzy about their season opener and a chance to see one of Philadelphia’s sons take the reins, Temple still had a tall task in the form of their cross country opponents, the USC Trojans, who came out on top 45-43.

A back-and-forth game through and through came down to the final minute as senior guard Alani Moore II set up the offense while assistant coach Monté Ross got off his seat and implored the Liacouras Center to simmer down, repeatedly motioning his hands downward. 

McKie barked out the play and the Owls ran it to a tee, as JP Moorman kicked the ball out from the post to the wide-open Moore who promptly drained the game-tying 3 with 45 seconds left.

Unfortunately for the Owl faithful this would be the last cause for celebration. On the ensuing possession, USC’s senior guard and game leading scorer with 21, Dwight Lewis, left Nate Pierre-Louis in the dust on a screen and put a rotating Jake Forrester in a spin cycle as he laid in the go-ahead basket.  

Out of the timeout the Owls looked a bit lost, swinging the ball around looking for the open man until Moore decided to take matters into his own hands, cutting into the lane, looking for contact, hanging up in the air and getting one last shot off as the ball bounced around the rim for a moment before it bounced out to the tune of the final buzzer.  

As the ball bounced out an exhale so loud it could be heard from Delco came from the 10,200 in attendance.  The Trojan Horse had breached the main campus gates as USC won the season opener by the skin of their teeth.

While the season opener didn’t quite live up to expectations for many Owls supporters there are a few sources of comfort to take away from this first test.  

The biggest takeaway has to be the reliant production from Temple’s upperclassmen that they so desperately lean on.  It’s no secret that the key to a successful inaugural season for McKie will come from the production of his two senior leaders, Moore and Quinton Rose as well as junior Nate Pierre-Louis, the team’s secretary of defense.

This season opener saw each member of the trio reach double figures, a feat the three were only able to accomplish twice last season. Moore, Rose, and Pierre-Louis combined for 39 of Temple’s 43 points in the loss, shooting a combined 39% from behind the arc.

For the highlights from the game, view them on the project’s YouTube page: https://youtu.be/KFLXg33wJMA

The Owls are home again tomorrow night as Grievous Vasquez leads the No. 20 Maryland Terrapins into town for an 8 p.m. showdown at the Liacouras Center.

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