Temple Loses Final Non-Conference Game to UMES
Written by: Declan Landis
Photo by: Andrew Mayo
As sophomore guard Chace Davis hit an open three to extend University of Maryland Eastern Shore’s lead to 70-58 with over 10 minutes left in the second half, the momentum of the game seemingly shifted towards the Hawks as Temple head coach Aaron McKie called a timeout.
Despite the Owls’ attempt to come back, that momentum remained with the Hawks throughout the rest of the contest, as UMES beat Temple 86-78 at the Liacouras Center.
“We wanted to come in here and prove that we could win these games,” UMES head coach Jason Crafton said. “I thought we did an unbelievable job of having a tenacious attitude and finding a way to win. I’m excited for our program.”
The 86 points scored by UMES is the second-highest total score that Temple has allowed this season behind the 89 points scored by Vanderbilt in its overtime win at the Liacouras Center in November.
UMES senior guard Da’Shawn Phillip led all scorers with 18 points. Graduate forward Nathaniel Pollard added a double-double, scoring 14 points and grabbing 10 rebounds for the Hawks.
Khalif Battle and sophomore forward Zach Hicks both led Temple with 15 points each. Damian Dunn, who scored 10 points, left the game with a head injury, according to McKie.
UMES had a comfortable lead for most of the second half, anchored by a 12-0 run to start the half and a 7-2 run around the 10 minute mark. Temple, however, cut the deficit as little as three points with 47 seconds left.
The Hawks ended the game on a 6-1 run in the final minute, closing out the victory.
UMES was very consistent from the field tonight, shooting 47.5 percent from the field and an impressive 45.8 percent from three.
“I think we have to do a better job getting out to the line,” sophomore guard Hysier Miller said about how Temple can improve their three-point shooting defense.
The Hawks’ bench was also a key part of their success, outscoring Temple’s bench 35-19 and keeping the team in the game through much of the contest. Graduate guard Donchevell Nugent was a force off the bench, scoring 13 points.
“We gave this team 86 points,” McKie said. “I’ve been talking about defense all year because I’m a firm believer that the best defensive teams are the ones that have a say in March. We are nowhere near that, nowhere near being as connected as we need to be as a team.”
Turnovers were a major problem for the Owls throughout the night. Temple had 16 total turnovers, including 11 in the second half. UMES scored 16 points off of those turnovers.
UMES’ defense was aggressive and prevented the Owls from getting inside, and that seemed to rattle the Owls’ offense. The Hawks are second in the Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference in steals, averaging nearly 10 per game. They had eight tonight.
Sophomore forward Jamille Reynolds, who will be out six-to-eight weeks with a thumb injury, was missed, as the Hawks out-rebounded the Owls 40-29 in total and 17-9 on offense.
Graduate forward Kur Jongkuch, who started in his absence, scored eight points and grabbed four rebounds, and sophomore forward Nick Jourdain added 11 points and three blocks.
This loss ends Temple’s non-conference schedule this season. The team will travel to Greenville, NC, to take on East Carolina University December 28 at 7 p.m.
Before they do, Miller believes Temple needs to be more of a team than they have been.
“We’ve got to be a better unit,” Miller said. “That’s the biggest thing for us right now: being one. I feel like we don’t play together as much as we’re supposed to.”