For the third consecutive City 6 road game, Fran Dunphy received a standing ovation during pregame introductions. The all time winningest coach in the history of the Palestra and the Big 5 picked up another victory in the cathedral of college basketball on Saturday, as the Owls beat Drexel 82-64.
Dunphy is no stranger to the pre-game accolades at this point, as he also has received standing ovations from the crowds at St. Joe’s and Villanova earlier this season.
“As always, I really appreciated it, but it’s uncomfortable to be honest,” Dunphy said. “I’d rather crawl underneath the stands.”
Fortunately for Dunphy, today was the last ovation he’ll have to cope with on the road, as the Owls final city 6 game will come against Penn at home on January 19th.
The Owls were led by their backcourt, as senior guard Shizz Alston Jr. lead all scorers with 25 points on 8-16 (5-10) shooting and sophomore guard Nate Pierre-Louis had a season-high 22 points on 9-11 (1-2) from the field. Pierre-Louis also contributed with 9 rebounds, raising his season average to 6.5 boards per game.
“Nate still tries to hit a home run on every possession even when we just need a single,” Dunphy said. “He just gives you so much energy and I’d bet that he’s starting to receive more attention in other teams scouting reports.”
Perhaps the highlight of the entire game was the running three pointer Pierre-Louis made from just inside half court at the buzzer as the first half ended, the type of shot that he says he hasn’t connected on since middle school.
Temple’s defense did a good job of keeping the Dragons offense contained, holding their season’s leading scorer, junior forward Alihan Demir, to just 10 points. Troy Harper, Drexel’s second highest leading scorer this season, led the Dragons with 18, however, it came on just 5-15 (0-4) shooting.
The Owls also got a major contribution from senior big man Ernest Aflakpui, who had 10 points and 11 rebounds en route to his first double-double of the season and the fourth of his career.
“Ernest has looked like a much improved post player,” Alston Jr. said. “When he’s playing well it definitely gets us more open shots because the other teams defense collapses and double teams a lot more.”
If there’s been a disappointing player for Temple recently, it’s been Quinton Rose, who is shooting under 40 percent from the field in the Owls last three games. Rose, who led the Owls in scoring on 43.4 percent shooting a season ago, scored 14 points on just 6-19 (0-4) shooting.
“His shot selection could be better and there’s been a few drives at the rim I’d like to see him finish,” Dunphy said. “I don’t ever want him to stop being aggressive though, I know he can be better and I think he’s just going through a bit of a slump lately.”
With the win, the Owls improve to 10-2. The team now starts a ten day break before beginning AAC play with a road game against UCF on January 2nd.
“I’m happy with our record and where we are for now,” Dunphy said. “We definitely have to play better moving forward if we want to have success in our conference though.”