WRITTEN BY: TOM HANSLIN @tomhanslin
The 6-foot-11 sophomore center had a career-high 20 points and 10 rebounds in 26 minutes off the bench Thursday night, as the Owls convincingly defeated South Carolina, 76-60, in the Under Armour Reunion doubleheader at Madison Square Garden. It was Temple’s (4-1) second win over a Southeastern Conference (SEC) school this season.
Moore’s impressive performance overshadowed a poor showing from big man Ernest Aflakpui, who finished with no points in just eight minutes due to foul trouble.
“All week I just stayed focused, preparing myself for this game,” Moore said.
Dunphy was also pleased with Moore, and believes he is capable of working even harder.
“[Damion] can really score it,” Dunphy said. “I thought he probably could’ve had a few more points as well. He missed a layup inside, he missed a number of foul shots as well. He knows how to play and I thought his rebounding was pretty good tonight, too.
“I want him to be playing critical minutes and just continue to do some of things he did tonight – to rebound, defend, and when he gets his opportunities, to score and do so.”
THE GARDEN HAD A ROSE
Although Moore played exceptionally well, Owls’ sophomore guard Quinton Rose led all scorers with a season-high 24 points on 10 made buckets. He also committed just one turnover, compared to the five he made in Temple’s loss at La Salle on Sunday.
Rose’s highlight, however, was a happy accident. With the Owls in transition during the first half, Rose heaved a half court pass that was intended for forward Obi Enechionyia near the basket. But the ball never found Enechionyia, as it miraculously fell through the net for a wacky three-point shot.
“I knew I overthrew him, but I didn’t know it would go in the basket,” said Rose, who scored 11 of Temple’s first 18 points and felt it had to be his night after that crazy “shot.”
Both teams played back and forth in the early minutes of the first half, but midway through, Temple generated a 21-6 run, and ultimately led 38-27 at halftime. In the second period, the Owls’ foot remained on the gas, and with seven minutes left, they led by as many as 23 points. South Carolina finished the game on a 17-10 run, but it was too little, too late.
“We knew we were going to get off to a good start,” Rose said. “We have to be able to sustain leads, and hold them off when they go on runs.”
TOO MANY TURNOVERS
South Carolina (5-2), who returned to The Garden for the first time since beating Florida in the NCAA Tournament’s Elite Eight round last March, committed a whopping 17 turnovers. That – along with inspiring efforts from Rose and Moore – kept the game out of reach, according to Gamecocks’ head coach Frank Martin.
“The one thing you can’t do against Temple is turn the ball over,” Martin said. “They have too many guards. They come at you and they’re hard to guard when your defense is set. They’re impossible to guard in the open court. All we did was give them layups.
“That’s why we scheduled this game – to play Temple – because we knew that they were going to be good and that’s the kind of team you got to play in non-conference play to get ready for league play. Simple as that.”
Temple scored 18 points off those turnovers alone.
OTHER STATS, NOTES
-Obi Enechionyia, who scored 15 points and five rebounds in 35 minutes, also recorded a career-high six blocks.
-Owls’ freshman guard Nate Pierre-Louis made his season debut in the first half, and scored three points on free throws. The move was made after guard Josh Brown suffered a knee contusion, according to Dunphy. Brown did return to the game later, and finished with seven points in 26 minutes.
-South Carolina’s leading scorer was freshman guard and Philadelphia native David Beatty, who finished with 13 points on six buckets.
-The Owls made only four three-pointers, and finished with 38 points inside the paint. Their bench also scored 25. Overall, Temple shot 29-of-60 (48.3-percent).
-The announced attendance was 6,081.
Temple visits George Washington (3-4) at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. on Sunday at 2:30 p.m.
If you want to connect with Tom Hanslin, email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @tomhanslin.