Written By: Owen Boyle
Photo Courtesy of: Temple Men’s Basketball
The Holiday season is over and Temple Basketball is back on the court. The young team starts a tough stretch of conference games when they host SMU tomorrow.
The Owls are coming off a loss to nationally ranked Houston. JP Moorman was Temple’s leading scorer with 12 points in the 76-50 drubbing last Tuesday.
Moorman has started strong in his senior campaign. The Greensboro, NC native is averaging 11 points per game along with three rebounds and two and a half assists. He also is setting career highs in shooting, averaging 57.1% from the field and 62.5% from three.
After splitting their first two games of the season, the cherry and white enter tomorrow’s game with a record of 1-1. The SMU Mustangs travel to the Liacouras Center with a 5-0 record and have won their only AAC game against ECU.
The Mustangs will ride the hot hand of junior guard Kendric Davis against Temple. Davis, averaging 20.4 points per game, is the AAC’s second-leading scorer.
“I don’t know if we can completely stop him (Davis) because he has the ball in his hands a lot,” said Coach Aaron McKie. “We have to make it difficult for him, play physical, and give them different looks on the defensive end in order to contain him.”
McKie’s team will also have to be aware of the other Mustang’s that offer a threat offensively. Ethan Chargois, Emmanuel Bandoumel, and Feron Hunt are all in the top-12 of scoring for the American Athletic Conference.
Temple will look for a spark from the young backcourt that shined in the opening night win against NJIT. Damian Dunn and Jeremiah Williams both scored in double figures during their first game together, but both struggled to find consistent scoring against Houston.
“Our relationship starts off the court,” said Williams. “Damian and I are roommates so we will sit together and watch NBA games or play games which helps build that spark and connection on the court.”
The Owls will look for more production from the two roommates that share the team’s backcourt against SMU.
Another guard that has had a strong showing early on has been graduate transfer, Brendan Barry. The former Dartmouth star missed all of last season with an injury and joined the Temple roster just a few days before the season.
Barry is averaging six points off the bench and shooting 50% from beyond the arc. Barry was more dominant and noticeable in the loss to Houston where he had nine points and shot 75% from three.
“We only had a few days with Brendan before the season started and he has been out of basketball for two years,” said McKie. “He’s getting the opportunity to practice with the guys and play more so we will look to use him more as the season progresses.”
While the scoring numbers have been inconsistent for the Owls, the rebounding numbers for Dre Perry have been outstanding. The senior captain is the AAC’s leading board getter with an average of 11 per game.
With an influx of youth and a group of freshmen that have been thrown into the fire early, Perry has taken his role as a team captain very seriously. The Baltimore native has been impressed with the freshmen and urges them to keep their foot on the gas as the season progresses.
“Find your niche and work on perfecting it,” said Perry. “Go hard no matter what the situation, in practice or in games no matter what.”
Temple will look to contain Kendric Davis, get more consistent shooting from their guards, and continue to see improvement in the freshmen players if they want to collect their first conference win of the young season. Tip-off against SMU is at 2 PM tomorrow from the Liacouras Center.