PHILADELPHIA, PA. 2/1/2020 – The Temple Owls snapped a four game losing streak with a 76 – 64 win over ECU. It took focus and staying together as a group to get through struggle, and they even had to do the same within the game to get win number 11 this season. A needed win for team morale and confidence.
“I was happy to get the win,” said Temple Coach Aaron McKie. “As a team we were struggling . When you’re struggling in life and you get knocked down the hardest thing to do is get up. For us to get that next win it was going to be hard down the stretch. Nothing was easy for us, but I’ll take the win.”
The Owls started quickly getting out to a 26 – 10 lead at the 10:43 mark of the first half. Then the shots stopped falling. Temple would get only four free throws until halftime and turned the ball over 6 times. At intermission ECU lead 32 – 30.
Time for the second half. McKie told the team to relax as it was just basketball. They focused on playing defense. The Cherry and White got a lead two minutes in the half that they never relinquished.
“We were confident and knew what was going on,” Moorman said. “Our struggles were form not getting stops. They went on a run, so we had to buckle down on defense and get stops, and navigate that two-three zone that was giving us a little trouble.”
The defensive effort focused on containing ECU guard Jayden Gardner who leads the league in scoring and rebounding in conference games. The Owls held Gardner to a season-low 11 points and 7 rebounds.
“We wanted to deny him the ball, keep him (Gardner) from touching it,” said McKie. “They move him around a lot so it is difficult to try and double him. If we could keep it out of his hands as much as we could, I thought our guys did a good job of doing so.”
“Knowing he is a super aggressive guy and is really talented, we had to do our best to keep in front and make him take jump shots which was the best thing for us,” said Moorman.
Offensively the Owls got a huge margin off three-point shooting making 10 of 25 (40%) compared to the Pirates making 4 of 17 from distance. Overall, Temple made 49% from the floor. ECU converted 22 of 56 (39%). In the Owls favor was the ball going in the basket.
“This game is about shot making,” McKie said. “We got off to a good start making shots. We shot forty-nine percent from the field and forty from the three, I’ll take that. We haven’t been close to those numbers in a long, long time.”
Temple had four players in double figures with Quinton Rose scoring 20 points. J.P. Moorman II recorded his first double-double of the season with a season-high tying 14 points and 10 rebounds. Nate Pierre-Louis scored 14 points and handed out 5 assists. Aloni Moore II also put in 14 points.
ECU guard Tremont Robinson-White had a game-high 21 points, and Tristen Newton contributed 13 points.
The calendar says it is February, and the four game winless streak is history. Temple (11 – 10, 3 – 6) got through the stretch and enter the new month with an uplifting win. The team stayed together and need to carry that into Memphis for a Wednesday game.
“I wanted to remain positive and keep encouraging everybody,” said Moorman. “Whenever you are on a losing streak like this it can be easy to divert and go separate ways. I needed to be that glue and keep everybody together.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian