By: Taylor Snyder
Temple (2-0) remains undefeated in the Aaron Mckie era.
Temple struggled shooting the ball but relied on defense to defeat Morgan State, 75-57, at the Liacouras Center on Saturday afternoon.
The Owls finished with 42 rebounds – 27 of which came on the defensive side of the ball –, 14 steals, and four blocks to outlast Morgan State. The majority of the Owls offense came as a result of their tough defense. Temple scored 27 points on 19 Morgan State turnovers.
Junior guard Nate Pierre-Louis had the biggest impact on both sides of the ball, leading the way with 19 points, 11 rebounds, and six steals.
Nate became the first Temple player to record a double-double in three consecutive games since Jaylen Bond in 2015.
Temple led by ten points at halftime and jumped out to a 41-29 lead following an Alani Moore three-pointer to open the second half. Morgan State cut Temple’s lead to six points twice in the first nine minutes of the second half, but Temple pulled away thanks to junior forward De’Vondre Perry.
Perry went on a personal 8-3 run midway through the second half following three straight baskets from the junior. Perry’s scoring burst extended Temple’s lead to 12 points with 7 minutes, 18 seconds left in the game.
The Owls kept the lead in double-figures the remainder of the contest.
“[Perry] provided a big spark for us,” Mckie said “He came in and knocked down a big three for us to give us a little bit more separation … It certainly helps when you have guys out there on the floor that can make some shots for you.”
Temple led for 36:49 minutes of the game after Morgan State led for the first two minutes. Temple was the better team throughout the game but never led by more than 12 points until there were six minutes left in the contest.
Senior guard Quinton Rose finished with 16 points on 4-of-14 shooting and hauled in six rebounds. Rose shot seven-of-eleven from the foul line.
Temple scored 32 of their points in the paint alone. After the game, Rose said that the team wanted to use their height advantage and ‘dominate’ in the paint.
The team’s emphasis on dominating the paint resulted in a season-high 32 free throw attempts for the Owls. Temple went 20-32 from the charity stripe while Morgan State attempted just 16 free throws, making ten.
The Owls struggled to make shots on Saturday, going just 24-65 from the floor, but made up for it by playing great defense and getting to the free-throw line, McKie said.
“I’ll take the aggression. I’ll take the 32 free throw attempts,” McKie added. “We just have to continue and work to get better on the offensive side of the ball.”
The Owls held a comfortable lead, but Pierre-Louis said the team wanted to increase their energy in the second half to pull away from Morgan State, who won just nine games last year.
Temple will travel north up Broad street to take on La Salle University at 2 pm on Saturday, Nov. 16 for the first Big Five game in the McKie era.