Your Weekly Edition of Temple Timeout

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We are back from spring break with a brand new edition of Temple Timeout. Vince Coll and Bri Hofsass have a recap of the women’s basketball team’s heartbreaking loss against the Oregon Ducks, as well as your top ten plays of the season from the men’s squad. Bri and Vince also take a look at what women’s gymnastics has been up to, and you don’t want to miss our player of the week.

Local Basketball Stars Headed to Premier College Programs

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On any given weekday at Neumann-Goretti High School, you’ll find the boys’ basketball team practicing hard in their gym.  The team has had a winning tradition, along with a tradition of producing D-1 college athletes – like Scoop Jardine and Rick Jackson. Today, the team boasts two more nationally ranked players – Quade Green and Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree.

Their stellar play has been turning heads both at the local and national level. Green has been averaging 20.8 points and 8 assists per game in his senior season.  Cosby-Roundtree averages 16.3 points and 11.7 boards.  Their coach, Carl Arrigale, had high praise for his boys, comparing them to Neumann-Goretti alumni Scoop Jardine and Rick Jackson.

“Dada’s a shot blocker, he can come away from the basket a little bit, put the ball on the ground a little bit,” Coach Arrigale said. “Rick didn’t do much of that in high school. Scoop and Quade are a little similar.  Quade’s a little smaller, a little quicker, maybe a little better shooter than Scoop was. But they’re both dynamic playmakers, and Quade’s a little quicker.  And they play well together.”

And they’ve also both caught the eyes of two of the biggest college programs in the nation.  Green has committed to Kentucky, and Cosby to Villanova.  When asked what it was that stood out the most from their conversations with Coaches Calipari and Wright, respectively, both expressed that it was their sense of selflessness and character.

“Calipari was true from day 1.  He wants the best for the kids and the program.  He wants the kids to do big things.  Life goes on,” said Green.

Cosby added, “He (Coach Jay Wright) always talked about family and working hard and trying to do everything for other people.  He always told me, not to play for myself, but to play for my team; not just for me, for my team, help my team win.”

With all the hard work these young men have put in both on and off the court, their futures are looking very bright.

Heartbreaker: Temple Women Fall in Opening Round of NCAA Tournament

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Despite Junior Aaliyah Butts’ season high 28 points, the Temple Owls were stunned by the Oregon Ducks in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

It was a wild back and forth battle throughout, as the game would see nine ties and three lead changes.

Temple would trail 69-68 with just under a minute to go after Oregon’s Sabrina Ioenescu hit a go ahead basket with 24 seconds left in the game. The Owls would respond ten seconds later with a basket from senior Feyonda Fitzgerald to retake the lead. Oregon would then once again score another basket to take a 71-70 lead; this time from freshman Ruthy Hebard with 5.5 seconds left. Fitzgerald would then push the ball down the court and drive to the lane to attempt a game winning basket where she would be blocked at the rim, and the game would end.

Temple would be led by the individual performance of Aaliyah Butts who scored her season high of 28 points, and would also notch two steals. Butts was accompanied by her backcourt teammate Feyonda Fitzgerald who scored 16 points, and dished six assist. Junior Tanaya Atkinson would also chip in some help on the boards as Atkinson would grab 14 rebounds to go along with her eight points.

Temple’s backcourt tandem of Butts and Fitzgerald would account for a combined 89 percent of the Owls’ offensive production on the night.

The game was the first NCAA tournament game Temple had played in since 2011, when the Owls fell to the second seeded Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the round of 32. The loss comes as Temple’s eighth on the season, and it is only the second time this season Temple has lost a game while scoring 70 or more points; the only other time being back on Nov. 19 against the Florida Gators (76-83).
The Owls will end their season (24-8), which is the best record Temple has had under coach Tonya Cardoza in over seven years.

Your Weekly Edition of Temple Timeout

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With Bri on the road with the men’s basketball team, Vince welcome’s the SportsDesk’s Larry O’Connor to Temple Timeout. Vince and Larry take a look at where the men’s team went wrong in their loss against ECU Thursday, ending their season. Bri calls in from the road to give her take on what went down in Connecticut.

As the NFL Draft draws near, Temple Owls are looking to take flight into the NFL. Special guest Dion Dawkins gives us some insight into the NFL Combine and Temple’s Pro Day. Good luck Dion, from all of us at Temple Timeout!

Owls Head Home Empty Handed

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Well, there will be no Cinderella story after all.

The East Carolina Pirates led early and often as they took down the Temple Owls in the opening round of the Frontier Communications American Athletic Conference tournament by a score of 80 to 69.

ECU knocked down a couple of three pointers in the opening minutes of Thursday afternoon’s game to take a 6-0 lead, and that lead would never be erased.

The Owls shot 31.3% from the floor in the first half and never led in the game, and that percentage would have looked a lot uglier if it was not for an excellent performance by junior Obi Enechionyia. Enechionyia carried to load in the first half with 12 points on 5 of 8 shooting, but his teammates could not hit water if they fell out of a boat.

Senior Dan Dingle, freshman Quinton Rose and sophomore Shizz Alston Jr. shot a combined 4 for 19 in the first half and the Owls could not take advantage of the 11 offensive rebounds that they grabbed.

ECU’s Kentrell Barkley guided the Pirates with 14 first half points as they took a 36-29 led into halftime.

Temple showed some fight to start the second half, knocking down 4 of their first 5 shots, to cut the deficit to 3 at 42-39 but they simply could not get themselves over the hump and take a lead of their own.

With the score at 53-52 at the 10:53 mark, East Carolina grabbed all momentum and never looked back. Freshman Elijah Hughes converted couple of ferocious takes to the hoop and Caleb White swished a three ball to take a seven point lead at 61-54.

The entire afternoon belonged to sophomore Kentrell Barkley, who dominated with 26 points and 16 rebounds on 9 of 17 shooting. Barkley tormented the Owls earlier in the season with 19 points in their win at home, and poured salt on the wound in today’s game as he dominated the boards on both sides of the floor.

For the Owls, Obi Enechionyia continued his steady stroke in the second half and he had 20 points on the day. This was the first time Obi had 20+ points since their Big 5 matchup against St. Joe’s back in November.

Senior Dan Dingle’s day ended early as he fouled out with 4:13 remaining. The captain from the Bronx had a night to forget and finished with a line of 10 points and 3 rebounds on 3 for 10 shooting in 32 minutes of play.

The East Carolina Pirates will move on to face the top-seeded SMU Mustangs on Friday at noon.

The one bright spot of Thursday’s defeat and the entire 2016-2017 season is the exposure that so many young Owls gained. The three freshmen, Quinton Rose and Alani and Damion Moore, played key minutes for Temple from the second the started balling on Broad Street. Sophomores Shizz Alston and Ernest Aflakpui played little roles in their freshmen, and then played huge roles on this year’s squad. With all the tough defeats and inconsistent play that came with the Owls’ season, a glimmer of hope and potential remains for the Temple Owls.

 

American Athletic Conference Tournament Preview

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

The month of March belongs to college basketball. There will be buzzer-beaters, upsets, and a heck of a lot of nets being cut down to celebrate championships.

The Frontier Communications American Athletic Conference men’s basketball tournament will kick off Thursday, March 9th at the XL Center in Hartford, CT. The 11 team field is set, with conference powerhouses Cincy and SMU poised for a deep run into March.

Here is the entire bracket and a brief lay-out of the chances of each team bringing home the title and earning that automatic bid.

The Favorites:

Southern Methodist (27-4, 17-1 in AAC, 1 seed)

The Mustangs have had their way in conference play and are showing no signs of slowing down. Fresh off a 103-62 thrashing of the University of Memphis to clinch the AAC regular season title, SMU has flown under the radar in the college basketball world and propelled themselves to a #12 ranking in the AP polls. The Mustangs’ player rotation is one of the most interesting ones in college hoops. They play positionless basketball and only six players tend to see the floor most nights, with the heights of those six studs ranging between 6’5 and 6’8. Led by Duke transfer Semi Ojeleye with his 18.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game, SMU will likely breeze through their side of the bracket with ease and meet up with the Cincinnati Bearcats in the final on Sunday afternoon.

Cincinnati Bearcats (27-4, 16-2 in AAC, 2 ssed)

It took an upset loss at UCF on February 26th to remove the Bearcats from the top spot in the conference tourney. This is probably the most well-rounded team head coach Mick Cronin has had during his tenure at Cincy. Not only do they play that renowned stifling and psychical Bearcats defense, they can put the ball in the bucket. Cincy is the highest scoring team in the AAC with 74.7 points per game and also dish out 16.5 assists per contest (tied for 1st in AAC). The three-headed monster of Gary Clark, Jacob Evans and Kyle Washington have led Cincy to a dominant conference season and they are currently projected at 5 seed by ESPN’s Joe Lunardi. If the Bearcats can avoid another upset, basketball fans should be in for a treat as SMU and Cincy could potentially face off in the championship for round 3, with each squad coming away victorious on their home floors.

Potential Cinderellas

Houston (21-9, 12-6 in AAC, 3 seed)

It will take magic from the Cougars’ dynamic duo of Rob Gray and Daymean Dotson to win the title, but it is too much of a stretch. Gray (20.3) and Dotson (17.3) were two of the top four scorers in the AAC and have the potential of lighting up the XL Center for a few nights. Houston went a combined 0-4 against SMU and Cincy (as did almost every other team in the AAC) but it is rather difficult to take down a quality team three times. Houston is currently in the “Next Four Out” in Joe Lunardi’s recent Bracketology, so the Cougars need to appear in the championship at the very least to earn a spot in March Madness.

UCONN (14-16, 9-9, 6 seed)

Yes, UConn has a losing record and have lost four straight, but there is something about the month of March that makes the Huskies rise to another level. UConn will be playing the entire tournament on their home floor and in front of a pro-UConn crowd. Expect Jalen Adams and Rodney Purvis to get back on track against USF in the opening round, then who knows what could happen when the host team starts gaining some momentum.

The Rest of the Field

UCF (20-10, 11-7, 4 seed)

Led by the giant center Tacko Fall, who is the AAC’s most improved player with 11.5 points 9.6 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game, the Knights are red-hot as they have won 5 straight which includes a win against the all-mighty Cincy. B.J. Taylor and Matt Williams lead the Knights’ offense that could potentially upset SMU, but it will be tough to take down both SMU and Cincinnati.

Memphis (19-12, 9-9, 5 seed)

The Tigers know how to score the basketball. They are second in the AAC in points per game thanks to Dedric and K.J. Lawson, who average 19 and 12 points per game respectively. First year head coach Tubby Smith has been around the block a few times and has plenty of experience in March, but Cinderella’s glass slipper does not fit the Tigers.

Tulsa (14-16, 8-10, 7 seed)

The Golden Hurricane have fallen off a cliff as of late. They have dropped 8 of their last 10 contests after starting 6-2 in AAC play. Tulsa’s deep eight man rotation should be enough to take down Tulane, but one should next expect anything more out of them.

 

Temple (16-15, 7-11, 8 seed)

TheTemple Owls opened everybody’s eyes back in November when they took down West Virginia and Florida State in consecutive days, but it has been a tough road since then. Junior Obi Enechionyia has struggled to find a consistent shooting stroke after his hot start and head coach Fran Dunphy has been forced to rely on underclassmen Quinton Rose, Alani Moore, Damion Moore, and Shizz Alston Jr. to close games out and the youngsters have not been able to do so. Of the Owls 7 conference victories, 5 of them came from teams behind them in the standings. Their first round matchup against ECU will break the tie after the two each had blowout wins on their home floors, but the Owls will need to shoot like UConn greats Ray Allen and Kemba Walker from behind the arc in order to make noise in the AAC tourney.

The Cellar Dwellers

East Carolina (14-17, 6-12, 9 seed)

Tulane (6-24, 3-15, 10 seed)

USF (7-22, 1-17, 11 seed)

It has been a tough and disappointing season for the teams at the bottom of the AAC. East Carolina got back up on their feet after starting 1-6 in the AAC and finished 5-6 the rest of the way. Tulane is in rebuilding mode with new head coach Mike Dunleavy and played several inexperienced underclassmen this season. South Florida has one victory in 2017 and fired their head coach Orlando Antigua midway through the season. These teams will be huge underdogs in the conference tournament, but crazier things have happened in March.

Temple’s Reddick and Dawkins Shine at NFL Combine

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Temple University’s record 4 players at the 2017 NFL combine put on quite the performance this past week. Headlined by DE/LB Haason Reddick and OL Dion Dawkins, the duo successfully elevated their NFL draft stock on the biggest stage. CB Nate Hairston and RB Jahad Thomas rounded out the Owls’ participants, and they will both hope to remain in the first 7 round conversation to NFL scouts.

Haason Reddick:

Courtesy: NFL.com

 Reddick finished among the top three at his position group in three events:  the 40-yard dash, vertical jump and broad jump. Haason Reddick’s 4.52 40 is fourth-fastest in last 10 combines at his position, and it makes him the fastest Temple participant of this year (over Thomas and Hairston). A 4.52 40 is faster than current NFL superstars Le’veon Bell, Mike Evans, and Antonio Brown.

In addition, Reddick had the longest broad jump at the combine (since 2003) by a defensive linemen.

Bleacher Report released an article on Monday naming Reddick as the top linebacker in the draft. That is serious praise for this past season’s AAC leader in TFLs, and he will likely find himself off of the big board fairly quickly come draft day in in April on Ben Franklin Parkway. “As a result, the former walk-on is now in position to become a potential top-15 selection.”

Dion Dawkins:

Courtesy: NFL.com

Dawkins received 10th best NFL.com Offensive Line grade, a graded total factoring all of the combine measurables in one score. The first team All-Conference LT ran the 2nd fastest 3 cone drill time among offensive lineman. Dawkins is still retaining his draft status somewhere in the mid second round area.

NFL.com added this about Dawkins’ current draft stock:

“Quality tackle who operates with good balance and solid technique. Shows some good initial quickness and a smooth kick-slide out of his stance, but might be better in short areas as a guard rather than in open space as a tackle. He’s athletic enough to operate in space, but power appears to be his calling card. His wide-hand approach in pass protection could be a difficult habit to break, but he has the natural power to withstand bull rush that might come with that. Dawkins is a well-schooled, three-year starter who has chance to transition into an early starter.”

Jahad Thomas:

Thomas’ performance at the combine didn’t exactly wow NFL scouts at the combine, and none of the 2nd leading scorer in conference combine test results landed in the top-10 of 2017 RBs. This is the same player who came into the NCAA with as an underdog without many other big time division 1 offers (Boston College, Monmouth).

According to NFL.com here is the low-down on his draft value as of today:

“Productive running back lacking in NFL-caliber size and strength but who makes up for it with his quickness and ability to help as a pass catcher and return man. While it’s hard to imagine him handling more than just a few carries per game as an NFL runner, his roster flexibility could work in his advantage. With his ability to operate from the slot and as a jet-sweep runner, he could be an interesting toy for a creative play-caller.”

Nate Hairston:

Hairston was recruited as a wide receiver, and even logged offensive snaps under coach Matt Rhule for two seasons before converting to defense his junior year. The Frederick, MD native’s 4.53 40-yard dash was 8th best for a corner. Hairston’s quality performance in the East-West shrine game brought attention to in-game impact of the CB, but NFL scouts are uneasy with the low targets Hairston received from opposing QB’s during the Owl’s 2016 championship season.

NFL.com pegged Hairston’s bottom line as the following:

Raw but very moldable prospect. Hairston shows good awareness from zone and his physical style and willingness to come tackle make him an immediate fit for primarily zone cover teams. However he may have the tools to eventually become a solid bump-and-run cornerback as he becomes more experienced at the position. Hairston is a projection-based talent who should become a much better player in two years than he is today.

 

Owls Fall Short to USF in AAC Tournament Semi-Final

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Courtesy OwlSports

For the second time this season, the Temple Owls Women’s Basketball team fell short against the USF Bulls. The Owls lost with a score of 63-58. The loss brings the Owls down to 24-6 and stops their run in the AAC tournament, while the win advances the USF Bulls to the finals of the AAC tournament where they will play UConn and brings their record to 23-7 overall.

The first quarter, the Owls were very dominating and even had a 9-point lead. This first quarter domination was led by the trio of Senior Feyonda Fitzgerald, who in the quarter final game set an AAC tournament record for most points scored in a game, and Juniors Alliya Butts and Tanaya Atkinson.

In the second quarter, USF fought back against the Owls to take the lead. The lead was constantly changing and USF only ever went up by 6 points at the most. At the end of the second quarter, USF was up 33-30, and the Bulls had outscored the Owls 19-13.

The Owls never were able to regain the lead in the second half. The third quarter was very low scoring for both teams who both scored only 9 points, but USF continued to keep the lead. USF came out in the fourth quarter with 10 unanswered points to extend their lead even further. From there, the Owls tried to fight back but fell just short from beating USF.

Senior Feyonda Fitzgerald led the way for the Owls with 18 points and 6 assists. Junior Tanaya Atkinson recorded a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Junior Alliya Butts notched 17 points and Senior Safiya Martin notched 8 rebounds.

The Owls will now wait to find out their seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Owls Beat Up the Bulls, 72-60

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The Temple Owls will finish the 2016-2017 regular season with a winning record at 16-15 (7-11 AAC) after their 72-60 victory over University of South Florida on Sunday afternoon.

Four Owls finished in double figures as the Cherry and White were swishing three balls all afternoon. Temple made 11 threes, with great performances from Obi Enechionyia and Daniel Dingle.

Enechionyia has struggled with consistent shooting throughout the season but #0 was 4-8 from behind the arc and finished with 14 points, 7 rebounds and 5 steals.

While Enechionyia has certainly had his hot and cold streaks, senior Daniel DIngle continues to be a model of consistency. Dingle finished with 17 points and 5 assists and 2-3 from three to lead the Temple O. Shizz Alston Jr. and freshman Quinton Rose chipped in 13 points apiece as well, and Rose was a nuisance on defense with 6 steals.

South Florida (7-22, 1-17) trailed throughout almost all of Sunday’s matinee. The Bulls and Owls traded buckets early on, but after an Alani Moore three with 6:36 remaining in the first half broke the 20-20 tie, South Florida was forced to try and play catch-up.

USF’s Geno Thorpe tried his best to help give the Bulls their second AAC victory with 21 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists, but the home team shot themselves in the foot constantly as they turned the ball over 19 times and shot 5 for 12 from the free-throw line.

The Temple Owls’ postseason matchup was already set prior to Sunday’s game, they will take on East Carolina on Thursday at 3:30 in the first round of the AAC Tournament, but it is certainly a great thing to end the regular season by winning their final two contests.

Temple and East Carolina split the regular season series, with each team winning in a rout on their home floors. With Thursday’s game taking place on a neutral court, fans should be in for a treat as the two duke it out to face the top-seeded SMU.

 

 

Fitzgerald Scores AAC Tournament Record, Owls Top Houston

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Courtesy of Owls Sports

The second-seeded Temple Owls defeated the 10th-seeded Houston Cougars Saturday to move on in the American Conference tournament.

The win comes as Temple’s 24th of the season overall, and the Owls third in a row. It is also Temple’s eighth win in the last nine games.

The Owls were led by a record setting performance on the part of senior Feyonda Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald scored a game high 30 points, which is the most points ever scored in a single American Conference tournament game. The trio of Fitzgerald, and juniors Aaliyah Butts and Tanaya Atkinson combined for 65 of the team’s 67 points. Butts would finish with 19 points, while Atkinson would finish with 16.

Even though the trio of Butts, Fitzgerald, and Atkinson accounted for a majority of the scoring, both seniors Ruth Sherill and Safiya Martin each played key roles in the win. Sherill would notch a game-high 15 rebounds, while Martin would grab seven rebounds and tied a season high in blocks with four. The duo’s rebounding led to a 40-33 advantage on the boards.

“You know people just stepped up and made shots when they had to,” said Head Coach Tonya Cardoza.

One of those people that Coach Cardoza spoke of is Feyonda Fitzgerald. Alongside her record setting 30 points, Fitzgerald shot a solid 48 percent from the field. Out of Fitzgeralds 30 points, 18 would be scored in the second half. She would also notch game-high seven assist.

“Well at the beginning, I was a little cold so I was trying to find other ways I could help my team out,” said Fitzgerald. “Whether that was distributing the ball or getting to the basket. Then my shot started falling so I just kept shooting and doing what I had to do to help my team win the game.”

The win is the second straight opening round victory for the Owls in the conference tournament. Temple previously dropped two straight opening round matchups in their first two appearances in the American Conference tournament.