PHILADELPHIA, PA. 1/7/2017 – The Temple Owls snapped a three game losing streak, their longest since 2015, and got their first American Athletic Conference victory of the season against the East Carolina University Pirates 81 – 62 on a snowy day at the Liacouris Center. The weather may have been bad in Philadelphia, but was much better than it was in North Carolina. We can save that for the Weather Channel.
The Owls got offensive balance as five players scored in double figures. This was the type of offensive performance the team needed.
“I thought our offense was good especially in the second half,” said Temple Coach Fran Dunphy. “Guys stepped up and made big baskets. Our guys were good at sharing the ball. That showed in our shooting percentage.”
In breaking the streak Temple had improved offensive performance shooting 53.2% (33 – 62) an improvement over the losses at UCF and SMU, and had 17 assists. The Owls got a game-high 19 points from senior forward Daniel Dingle who made 5 of 8 from the floor and 7 of 9 from the free throw line. Dingle handed out 6 assists, one shy of his career-mark.
Adding to the offensive output was sophomore Ernest Aflakpui who scored a career-high 13 points and 10 rebounds to record his third-ever double-double. Freshman Quinton Rose made 6 of 7 from the field scoring 14 points.
Senior Mark Williams contributed a season-high 13 points making 6 of 8 field goal attempts and pulled down 6 rebounds in 17 minutes of play. Senior Obi Enechionyia scored 12 to round out the double-digit scorers for the Owls.
“In our last couple of games everybody, including myself, did not do a good job contributing to scoring,” Dingle said. “Now teams are going to have to scout us differently. They try to take Obi out of the equation, but now with everybody scoring we will be a tough team to guard just like in November.”
ECU was led by Kentrell Bradley who, scored a team-best 9 points.
The Cherry and White outrebounded the Pirates by a 39 – 28 margin, 11 – 8 on the offensive glass. Temple had been beaten on the glass by a an average of 13 rebounds during the losing streak.
“We shouldn’t be giving up offensive rebounds,” Dunphy said. “We gave up eight, but we got eleven. We need to do better limiting their opportunities. Everything is important. We have to be more prepared. As the season goes on we will get a lot of difficult chores in getting us into offense.”
Temple took control behind a 10 – 2 run led by Aflakpui, who scored half of the points in the run, to take a 62 – 48 lead halfway through the second half. Down the stretch the home team scored 11 of the last 15 points to ice the game.
The Owls improve to 10 – 7 overall and are 1 – 3 in American play. They will prepare for a mid-week game at Connecticut, and a chance to start a winning streak. For now, the losing streak is over.
“It feels great,” Rose said about ending the skid.
Written By: Glenn Papazian