PHILADELPHIA, PA. 11/11/2013 – The Temple Owls met the Golden Flashes of Kent State in the ESPN Marathon last year, and the Owls got the win. This year Kent State turned the tables on Temple. The Owls had an eight point lead with just under 8 minutes to play. Kent State erased that lead taking a 70 – 69 lead with 4:35 on the clock, then closed the game out scoring seven of the next nine points to earn an 81 – 77 win at the Liacouris Center in Temple’s home opener.
The Cherry and White had control of the game early. The Owls were able to get the ball inside to junior forward Anthony Lee, and junior guard Will Cummings was able to get the ball to the basket. Temple held a 42 – 38 halftime lead and got to the foul line 16 times making 11. Cummings scored 14 points in the first half, 8 at the free throw line. Lee scored 12 in the opening twenty minutes. In the second half things turned around as Kent State made a defensive adjustment playing more zone defense. The result was the inside was no longer open to the Temple offense and they were forced to take outside jump shots. The Owls got to the foul line three times in the closing twenty minutes making just one.
“We did play a little bit of zone which may have helped a little bit,” said Kent State Coach Bob Senderhoff about the adjustment on defense. “In the first half we were really over-anxious 0n both ends of the floor. That caused us to foul them a lot in the first half. In the second half we settled down by moving our feet instead of our hands and did a good job of keeping them off the line.”
The Owls were making outside shots early in the second half. Sophomore guard Quenton DeCosey scored the first 9 points of the half for Temple and that stretched the lead to 53 – 45 at the 15:14 mark. As the stanza progressed the home team was keeping their lead, but could not put away the visiting Golden Flashes who kept making three-pointers. For the game Kent State made 11 of 22 from beyond the arc.
“Our three-point jump shooting defense was poor,” said Dunphy. “We over helped way too much and they took advantage of it. We got an indication that they were going to shoot the ball early, and they were shooting it well. We didn’t make the adjustment.”
With just under 10 minutes to play Owls senior guard Dalton Pepper hit a three that started a personal run of 7 straight points that ballooned the lead to 67 – 59 with 7:43 to play. Pepper made the next Temple basket stopping a five-point run for Kent State. The lead stood at 69 – 64 with 6:22 on the clock. That would be the last points the Cherry and White would score for almost four and a half minutes. A layup by freshman forward Mark Williams ended a 9 – 2 Kent State run that put the game in their favor. The Williams basket cut the gap to 73 – 71 , but Kent State took control scoring 6 of the next 8 points. Temple made a charge that got them to within 77 – 73, but an offensive foul by Cummings ended the threat.
“In the second half we didn’t make any thrust to the basket and get to the foul line,” said Dunphy.
Cummings led Temple in scoring with 17 points, 3 in the second half. Lee contributed 16 points and 11 rebounds for his second consecutive double-double of the season. DeCosey scored a career-high 16 points. Pepper and Williams also posted double figures with 15 and 11 points. Kent State (2 – 0) got 17 points Deveraux Manley and Derek Jackson. Each player made three 3-pointers. Darren Goodson scored 12 points and Kellon Thomas hit double figures with 11 points.
Temple is 1 – 1 on the season. The Owls have lost leads late in the game in both their outings. The team is still gaining experience, and Lee feels the team will learn from their mistakes.
“We and are still trying to come together and see how to close a game,” said Lee. “They guys who are playing are doing a good job after not playing many minutes last year. We are going to pick it up. These games are for us to look at and move on to the next game.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian