Written By Tom Hanslin @tomhanslin
TAMPA– Will Cummings returned to Florida for the final time in his four-year career at Temple, and as the final buzzer sounded, the star senior guard left one final mark in his home state.
Cummings lead the Owls with 19 points as he became the 50th player to reach 1,000 career points in the program’s history, as Temple defeated South Florida 61-48. Wednesday night’s contest was a tale of two halves, as South Florida held their own ground in the first half, leading by a point at halftime. With Temple currently on the outside looking in for tournament possibilities, the Owls turned on the switch in the second half, outscoring the Bulls 38-24 to seal their fourth straight win in American Athletic Conference play. The Owls’ defense complemented their shooting struggles early, as Temple forced 14 points off of 13 total turnovers committed by South Florida.
“We just had to step it up on defense,” said Cummings. “In the 1st half we struggled, so we knew we had to step it up in the 2nd half and get back to what we know.”
Aside from Cummings’ milestone night, senior guard Jesse Morgan contributed nine points and Josh Brown tallied eight points off the Owls’ bench. Temple also improved their rebounding numbers, as Forward Jaylen Bond brought home nine of 41 total boards.
“Our defensive numbers were terrible last year,” Cummings said. “All season that’s what we’ve worked on and it is really paying off right now.”
Cummings was proud of his teammates’ execution on both sides of the ball, but most importantly, his eye remains on the prize: a ticket to the big dance.
“I just want to be known for working hard and getting wins,” said Cummings. “I want to get back to The Tournament.”
Temple improves their record to 16-7 on the year, holding sole possession of third place in the conference standings at 7-3. The Owls continue their journey to the tournament this Saturday as they square off against the 14-8 Memphis Tigers in Tennessee.