SportsDesk Practice Report: 11/21

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All season long, players have been talking about going 1-0 each week. And if they want to become bowl eligible, they’ll have to preach that same motto one more time.

The Temple Owls will have one final chance to reach six wins and become bowl eligible. That chance will come this Saturday when the team travels to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to take on the Golden Hurricane.

Temple (5-6, 3-4), took a loss to nationally ranked UCF last Saturday 45-19, while Tulsa (2-9, 1-6), lost a tough battle with USF, 27-20.

In the Owls’ contest against UCF, QB Frank Nutile had the worst performance of his young starting career. The redshirt junior QB went 17-40

on passing attempts, barely eclipsing 200 yards with 201, throwing for 2 touchdowns and a season-high 4 interceptions. When asked how he shook things off from the shaky performance, Nutile said this,

 

“I think as a quarterback and a competitor you kind of just have to flush it. You have to learn from those mistakes and flush it. I got to be ready to lead the team and we all got to be ready to go. At the end of the day, you just got to flush it and get ready for Tulsa and that’s it, just get ready for Saturday.”

Although Temple lost, they were able to outgain UCF in total offense yardage, 397-384, almost evenly split between passing and rushing, 201 passing and 196 yards rushing. The team’s rushing total came from a variety of players. Mainly, David Hood (12 rushes, 81 yards), Rob Ritrovato (5-41), and Isaiah Wright (4-32). Other contributors were Ryquell Armstead (7-18), Frank Nutile (6-14) and Travon Williams (1-10).

On the receiving end of things, Adonis Jennings led the way with 88 yards and 1 touchdown on just 2 catches, Keith Kirkwood also caught a touchdown on 1 of his 3 catches for 32 yards. Other contributors were Ventell Bryant (team-high 4 catches, 26 yards), Randle Jones (2-24) and Isaiah Wright (2-16).

Defensively for the Owls, it was tough to make a stand when the majority of the time UCF got the ball in very good field position, though they held the nation’s top scoring offense to less than 400 yards. Leading the way was defensive end, Jullian Taylor, with a team-high 10 tackles on the day and 4.5 tackles for loss. Fellow DE Sharif Finch was a nuisance in the backfield all day with 2 sacks and 4 tackles, 3 of them for a loss.

The player who will wear the No. 1 jersey for the Owls in their final regular season contest will be DE Jullian Taylor. Taylor had the honor once before this season, and due to his performance last Saturday, it earned him the honor once again. On the season, Taylor has 35 total tackles, 8 for loss.

“It’s not very often, I’m just glad to be wearing it again, especially at the end of the season, that means I finished strong,” Taylor said.

For Tulsa, they come in losers of 4 straight games. Their last win came in mid-October when they took on Houston at home and won 45-17. They’ve fared pretty well at home posting a 2-3 record, while on the road they’re 0-6.

Last week against USF, Tulsa’s RB D’Angelo Brewer rushed 33 times for 163 yards, setting the conference career rushing record with 3,662 yards.

This week, Temple’s senior class with once again be looking for their 32nd win to make them the winningest class in school history.

“It definitely means something. I’ve been here for a lot of game-days, the win against Penn State, it has definitely been a fun ride to have a chance to be the winningest team in Temple history, that’s definitely special,” said senior WR Adonis Jennings.

The game is set to kick off from H.A. Chapman Stadium in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at 4:00 PM. The game will be broadcasted on ESPNews and you can listen in on 610 WTEL.

Temple Defeats Clemson 67-60 to Win Gildan Charleston Classic

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Temple was able to maintain their lead throughout the entire second half, despite a last-stick effort from Clemson, who was able to cut the lead to 4 with under two minutes to play.

 

The Owls historically live or die by the three ball, and they were able to knock down 10 from behind the arc. Even though they were able to hit 10 threes, they only shot 35% from behind the arc and 37% from the field. Josh Brown and Alani Moore each contributed three 3s. Brown ended with 13 points and Moore with 12.

 

In the Owl’s’ first two tournament matchups, they only saw big performances from Quinton Rose, Shizz Alston, and Obi Enechionyia. Their matchup against Clemson showed a rounder performance from Temple as a whole. Five Owls scored in double digits. Alston led with 14 points, followed by Brown with 13, Enechionyia and Moore with 12, and Rose rounded it out with 10 points. Quinton Rose recorded his first double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. He also led all Owls with 4 assists. Enechionyia went on to win Gildan Charleston Classic MVP averaging 15.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg, and 5 assist per game.

 

This is the first time the Owls have won the Gildan Classic in their third appearance. Aside from their victory in the 2016 NIT Tip-Off Tournament, where they went on to beat two ranked opponents in WVU and Florida St., this is the first regular season tournament victory for the Owls since the 1998-1999 season. Temple is starting off 3-0, which is their hottest start since the 2012-2013 season where they went on to a 6-0 start.

 

Temple will have a 6 day break to prepare for their next matchup and first Big 5 contest against La Salle. Tip off is set for 5 o’clock on November 26th.

Women’s Volleyball continues to win as their season comes to a close

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The Temple Women’s Volleyball team continues to prove that they are one of the top teams in the conference with another weekend sweep.  The Owls faced off against SMU and Tulsa, winning both games on the road.  The Owls currently sit at an overall record of 16-8, and 12-4 in the conference.  The Owls bounced back from the heartbreaking losses against Memphis and Wichita State, with two more wins, to start another win streak.  The Owls look to close out the season in late November, with a few matches ahead of them.

 

Thursday, November 9, 2017, @ SMU, W 3-2

The Owls traveled to Texas, to start an early weekend with an eight o’clock meeting with SMU.  The girls trailed early in the game, dropping the first two sets to SMU.  The Owls battled all game long, and climbed out of the two set deficit.  The Owls took the next three sets in a dominant team performance.  The comeback was in large part due to the Owls offense, but the game was very close.  The teams traded the lead many times throughout the last three sets, but Temple walked away the victors.

Stellar performances were given by the entire team, as everyone contributed in the comeback win.  Izzy Rapacz flirted with a triple-double in this game with 20 digs, 14 kills and eight blocks.  Kyra Coundourides again had another double-double with 54 assists and 16 digs.  Junior Iva Deak ended with 14 kills while hitting .407 on the night, while Dana Westfield led the team in kills with 15.  The great performances by the girls helped lift them out of the early hole, and get the win.

 

Saturday, November 11, 2017, @ Tulsa, W 3-2

The team looked to carry their momentum over into Saturday night, when they played against Tulsa, in Oklahoma.  After a close match on Thursday, the team looked to create a little more breathing room for themselves.  The Owls did just that, by getting to a two set lead early on.  The women quickly dropped the next two sets and had to gut it out in the final set, in what was another close victory for the Owls.  The team moves to 16-8 on the year after that win, and notches their twelfth conference victory.

Once again, a few more Owls with a double-double in this match.  Izzy Rapacz, Dara Peric, and Kyra Coundourides all ended the night with a double-double.  Rapacz had a career high 21 digs, 12 kills and seven blocks.  Peric had a great night with 14 digs and 11 kills.  Coundourides had another big game with 53 assists, 15 digs and a pair of blocks.  Other notable performances were turned in by Janine Simmons who had six blocks and six kills, and Dana Westfield who had another 15 kill game.  

 

Weekend Star: Kyra Coundourides

Senior Kyra Coundourides has been playing exceptionally well all season, and has led this offense to big wins.  Over the weekend, she led the team on a comeback against SMU, and helped the team gain back control against Tulsa.  The team played as whole and Kyra was a big part in leading them, and keeping confidence throughout.  She totalled for 107 assists and 31 digs in both games, and truly impacted the outcome of both games.  So far this season, Coundourides has been a double-double machine.

 

Looking Ahead

The Owls wrap up their season with two back to back matches against conference opponent, the University of Connecticut.  The two teams have not yet faced off, but will see each other twice in the matter of days.  The first matchup between the teams comes on November 22, and the second two days later on the 24th.  Currently, UCONN sits at 11-17, and 4-12 in the conference.  The Owls look to close out the season with two wins against the Huskies.  Right now, the Owls sit in third in the AAC, trailing only SMU (13-3) and Wichita State (16-0).

Temple Tops Auburn 88-74 to Advance to Charleston Classic Championship

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After a victory by the Owls in the first game of the Charleston Classic, they took on the Auburn Tigers for a chance to go to the championship game in the tournament. Temple took care of business once again down the stretch winning the game 88-74.

The first half was a tight affair, trading baskets and lead changes throughout. Temple’s biggest lead in the first half was 7, though it was cut to 1 by the break, Temple led 32-31. Shooting in the first half was a bit of a struggle for both teams, as neither could find their stroke from beyond the arc.

By the time the second half rolled around, Temple took command. Down the stretch, Quinton Rose hit big shot after big shot increasing the Owl’s lead and separating themselves farther and farther as the second half went on.

Quinton Rose and Obi Enechionyia were Temple’s leading scorers with 19 a piece. Enechionyia recorded his first double-double of the season with 19 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks, 1 steal and was a perfect 5-5 from the free throw line. Quinton Rose had another great day shooting behind the arc, he went 5-8 to contribute to his 19 points, and add 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 steal to his stat line for the day.

The two other Owl’s in double figures were Shizz Alston Jr. and Alani Moore (10). Alston put up 18 points on 6-9 shooting and 2-3 from beyond the arc, to go along with 5 rebounds and 4 assists. Josh Brown, his second game back from being injured last season, is still looking to find his stroke. The senior guard was just 2-6 from the field, 0-1 from beyond and picked up 2 of 3 from the free throw line giving him a total of 6 points, 1 rebound and 3 assists.

As a team, Temple shot 49.2% from the field, 38.5% from three-point territory and 81.8% from the free throw line.

For the Tigers, their leading scorer was Anfernee McLemore off the bench, tallying 19 points, 7 rebounds and 5 blocks. Desean Murray earned himself a double-double with 10 points, 11 rebounds, and 2 assists. Bryce Brown and Jared Harper were in double figures as well. Brown put up 10 points after going just 3-11 from beyond the arc, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 steal. Harper had 11 points on 3-12 shooting and 1-6 from three, 3 rebounds, a team-high 7 assists, and two steals.

As a team, Auburn shot 36% from the field, 24.2% from three-point territory and 70.6% from the free throw line.

The win improves the Owls’ record to 2-0 and will face off against the winner of Clemson/Hofstra who will play later tonight, in the Charleston Classic championship game Sunday night at 9:30 on ESPN2.

SportsDesk Preview: No. 14 UCF vs Temple

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After knocking off division foe Cincinnati last week 35-24, for the team’s first back-to-back conference victories of the season, Temple looks to keep the ball rolling this Saturday afternoon when they face their toughest test yet.

With bowl eligibility on the line, the Owls (5-5, 3-3) are turning their focus to the undefeated division leader No. 14 UCF Golden Knights (9-0, 6-0).

Saturday will also be Senior Day for the Owls’ senior class. They will play at Lincoln Financial Field one last time as Temple Owls, as they try to earn their 32nd win as a class, which would make them the winningest class in program history. Putting this senior class one win over the senior class of 2011.

“I never really thought this day would come, the time has really flown. I’ve enjoyed my time here at Temple with the guys and being a part of this culture, being a part of this program, being a part of this university and be able to represent this university on a weekly basis, it’s exciting. It’s kind of sad, but I don’t think I have any regrets,” senior DE Jacob Martin said. “As a senior that’s what you want, to not have any regrets, and I don’t have any here at Temple. I’m truly thankful for the opportunity to play at this university and be a part of such a great environment and culture.” 

Players have been preaching for the last few weeks on how all they want to do is win out for the seniors and get them to a bowl game. Here is how the senior class stacks up for the Owls:

DB Sean Chandler, Cequan Jefferson, Artrel Foster, Mike Jones
OL Leon Johnson, Brian Carter, Adrian Sullivan, Cole Boozer
DL Jacob Martin, Sharif Finch, Jullian Taylor, Greg Webb
ST Austin Jones, Alex Starzyk, Corey Lerch, Josh Lang
WR Adonis Jennings, Keith Kirkwood
FB Nick Sharga
LB Chris Smith

Key players

 

Temple

  • After the injury to early season starter Logan Marchi, Frank Nutile has made the most of every opportunity given. Over his last three games since taking over in the battle against Navy, Nutile has thrown for on average a total of 268 yards with 3 touchdowns a game to go driving the Owls to a 2-1 record over that span.

 

  • One of Temple’s only other consistent bright spots on the season is created by the efforts of Sophomore Isaiah Wright. Wright has been all over the field this season, being the only player on his team with a rushing, receiving, and returning touchdown this season.

UCF

 

 

  • UCF’s offense looks to keep their onslaught on a roll defeating teams by well over 3 touchdowns a game on the winding down season.

 

 

 

  • Having one of the best years of his career, Mckenzie Milton looks to come into Philly and prove as to why he is one of the best quarterbacks in the country. Throwing for over 2000 yards and 20 touchdowns, Milton looks to challenge the touch defense recently of the owls .

 

 

  • Posted in the backfield with Milton is Adrian Killins Jr. who has been an impressive compliment to his quarterback thus far on the year. Killins jr. has proven his worth this season rushing for 8 touchdowns on the year showing his capabilities of having big games with his best one coming two weeks ago against tulane when he let loose for 145 yards.

When Temple is on Offense 

Last week against Cincinnati, the Owls were clicking on all cylinders. A very balanced attack offensively, QB Frank Nutile led the way through the air throwing for 224 yards and 1 TD. On the ground, it was David Hood with the best game of his collegiate career, rushing for 108 yards and 1 TD. Hood’s 108 yards made up most of what was part of a 205-yard day rushing for the Temple offense. RB Rob Ritrovato and Ryquell Armstead combined for 72 yards, and Nutile himself added 28 yards and one touchdown.

The trio of Ventell Bryant, Keith Kirkwood (TD catch) and Isaiah Wright combined for 141 of Nutile’s 224 yards.

The defense looked just as complete as the offense in the victory. The Owls shut out the Bearcats in the first half, though Cincinnati came out in the second half and traded TD’s with the Owls on their first few drives. S Sean Chandler led the team in tackles with 11 and one fumble recovery. The defense had to overcome a big loss in LB Chapelle Russell, the teams leading tackler. Russell was ruled out for the remainder of the season after a knee injury prior to the game.

And on special teams, Isaiah Wright earned himself Conference Special Teams Player of the Week after a 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the third quarter, just when Cincinnati had pulled to within 6.

The Owls look to keep that same mentality and drive, as they face off against the highest scoring offense in the nation.

For the UCF Golden Knights, they enter the game 9-0 for the first time in program history. The Knights are in the Top 25 for the first time since 2013 and for good reason.

The UCF offense leads the nation in scoring offense with 48.6 points per game. They are one of just 11 teams in the nation to be in the top 30 in both scoring offense and scoring defense.

The Knights are most recently coming off a 49-24 victory over UConn. The team gained 519 yards of total offense, which makes it the sixth time they’ve eclipsed 500 yards of total offense this season. UCF scored on four of their first five drives, while the defense forced a pair of turnovers in form of a fumble recovery and an interception. The defense also recorded 3 sacks and 5 tackles for loss.

In 2015, UCF was a winless team. The school then hired Scott Frost, who turned the team around to go 6-7 and earned a bowl game in 2016. Now, the Golden Knights are off to the best start in program history at 9-0.

When Temple is on Defense 

The nation’s highest-scoring offense is led by sophomore QB McKenzie Milton. Milton has thrown 22 touchdowns this season, and he is second in the nation in passing efficiency (184.6) and third in completion percentage (69.6%). On the season, Milton has completed 176 of 253 passing attempts totaling 2720 yards and 5 interceptions to go along with his 22 TD passes.

Milton is also the teams second leading rusher. He’s rushed 65 times for a total of 350 yards and 4 touchdowns. The team’s leading rusher is sophomore RB Adrian Killins Jr., who has rushed 74 times for 599 yards and 8 touchdowns. Killins is averaging 8.1 yards per carry, his career-best day was at SMU two weeks ago when he rushed for 145 yards. Sharing the backfield with Killins is junior RB Taj McGowan, who has rushed 64 times for 229 yards and tied with Killins for touchdowns on the season with 8.

 

Milton has thrown 22 TD passes this season and has run for 4.

On the receiving end of things, leading the pack is Milton’s favorite receiver junior Tre’Quan Smith. Smith has hauled in 40 catches totaling 761 yards and a team-high 10 touchdowns. He is seventh all-time at UCF with 19 career touchdown catches and fourth in the nation currently with his 10 TD catches this season. Also getting catches is sophomore Dredrick Snelson who has 28 catches for 429 yards and 3 touchdowns and senior TE Jordan Akins has 22 catches for 351 yards and 3 touchdowns.

 

“Keep watching film and execute our plays. They execute their plays very well, they run and pass very well, they’re very talented and that’s why they get off the way they do. We just have to execute our defenses, our coaches will have us in the right call and we’ll have to execute and play our game,” junior S Delvon Randall said on how to slow down the UCF offense.

Defensively, junior LB Pat Jasinski leads the team in tackles with 69, he’s also got one sack, one pass broken up, a forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Leading the team in sacks is senior LB Shaquem Griffin with 3, 6 quarterback hits, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Last season, Griffin was named AAC Defensive Player of the Year, he also leads the team in tackles for loss with 6.5.

Leading the team in interceptions are juniors CB Mike Hughes, and S Kyle Gibson, each with 3. Gibson’s 3 INT’s are to go along with 40 tackles, 4 passes broken up, and two fumble recoveries. Mike Hughes is 17th in the nation with 1.3 passes defended per game.

UCF has been dominant this season, though Temple has had some recent success against ranked opponents. Since 2014, Temple has served as one of the conference’s top teams when facing a ranked opponent, compiling one win each of the past three seasons for an even 3-3 record all-time.

Temple will need all aspects of their game to be on point as they head into battle this weekend if they want to keep their winning streak alive, become bowl eligible, and take down an undefeated division opponent, all on the seniors last game on their home field.

The game is set to kickoff from Lincoln Financial Field at noon this Saturday afternoon. It will be broadcasted live on ESPNU and you can listen in on 97.5 The Fanatic.

Follow @TU_SportsDesk for all gameday coverage.

Temple Goes For 2-0 Today vs Auburn in Final 4 of Charleston Classic

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Temple looks to start 2-0 this season after defeating Old Dominion yesterday by a final score of 76-65. The Owls will square off against the Auburn Tigers today in the final four of the Charleston Classic. If the Owls win today, they’ll face off against the winner of Clemson vs. Hofstra in the championship game this coming Sunday.

Temple got off to a fast start yesterday in their season opener against Old Dominion. They scored 46 points in the first half and led by 17 going into the break, largely contributed by Shizz Alston Jr. and Quinton Rose.

After a shaky start to the second half, Ernest Aflakpui and Quinton Rose both hit very big shots for Temple as ODU had cut the lead to 5. It was the Owls who prevailed and hung on for the victory after a scary second half.

Shizz Alston Jr. (23), Quinton Rose (20), and Obi Enechionyia (15) were the only Owls in double figures. Alston was 5-8 from beyond the arc, while Enechionyia was 2-3 and the two shared the team-high in rebounds with 6. Rose went to the free throw line 11 times and led the team in assists with 5.

Today, the Owls will take on a 2-0 Auburn team who has beaten Norfolk State 102-74 and Indiana State in the first round of the Charleston Classic 83-64.

Leading the Tigers is junior G Bryce Brown, who has averaged 23 points in his two contests, though he shoots a low 26% from three-point land. Junior F Desean Murray nearly has averaged a double-double in his first two games averaging 13.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game (team-high). Sophomore G Jared Harper leads the team in assists per game (5.5) and is also 4-6 from beyond the arc. Anfernee McLemore, a 6’7 sophomore forward, has 6 blocks on the young season, along with 6’8 junior forward Horace Spencer, who also has 6 blocks in his two games.

Look for Bryce Brown, Desean Murray, and Jared Harper to try and take charge today for the Tigers today as they look to reach 3-0. While the Owls will try for 2-0 and a spot in the Charleston Classic Championship.

Tipoff is set for 11:00 AM on ESPN2.

Temple Takes Down ODU 76-65 for First Win of the Season

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After waiting an extra week to kick off their basketball season, the Owls did not seem out of stride one bit. They started strong from the beginning, and their hot start was able to hold them over during a bit of momentum spur from ODU in the final leg of the game.

 

Shizz Alston Jr. ended the 2016-2017 season as the leading scorer for the Owls, and after their first matchup he is making a campaign to be the leading scorer for Temple’s 2017-2018 as well. Alston dropped 23 points, going 7-13 from the field and 5-8 from behind the arc. He also grabbed 6 rebounds, but the guard was only able to contribute 2 assists and had a turnover on top of that.

 

The Owls saw strong performances from Obi Enechionyia and Quinton Rose as well. Enechionyia added 15 points,  6 rebounds, and a block. Rose, the promising sophomore guard, went 50% from the field dropping 20 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals.

Courtesy NBC sports

Despite strong performances from Alston, Enechionyia and Rose, no other Owls scored in double digits. Last season the Owls had 4 guys averaging 10 or more points. Aside from Josh Brown’s 7 points, Brown only going 1-6 from the field as well, four Owls combined for a total of 11 points.

 

Temple at times was able to put the Monarchs away. They led as much as 19 points, but the Owls allowed ODU to go on a 9-0 run to cut the lead to 1 point right around the 9 minute mark. Temple does have key veterans in their return such as Enechionyia and Alston. The rest of the team is still playing catch up on the experience level. As promising as Rose and Alani Moore II have proven to be, especially given their minutes played in their freshmen seasons, they are still only sophomores. Brown’s return as a fifth year senior is beneficial for the team, but Brown has not played for approximately one year. It showed on the floor. Although Brown picked up 5 rebounds, he only contributed 7 points and his assist to turnover ratio was 3:2. It might take him a few games into the season to iron out some of those kinks.

 

The Owls were able to close out on the Monarchs 76-65 in their first game of the year, and will advance to the second round of the Charleston classic. They will be taking on Auburn at 11 am on ESPN 2 on November 17.

Temple Kicks off Season vs. ODU in Charleston Classic

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While the rest of the college basketball world is three-four games deep into their seasons, Temple basketball is eagerly awaiting their tip off. The Owls are heading down to South Carolina to take on Old Dominion in The Charleston Classic.

 

Old Dominion is off to a hot start on their season. They are 2-0 after defeating Towson and James Madison. They held both opponents to under 55 points. Last season Temple was able to average 70 points per game with an offensive unit that was not too strong. Temple’s new found depth is surely looking to up the ante on the scoreboard.

Temple’s depth this season relies heavily on their guard rotation. The absence of Josh Brown last season, due to an achilles tendon injury, forced Temple’s younger guards to step up. Shizz Alston Jr. led the team in minutes played with 36.4 minutes played per game. Alani Moore and Quinton Rose each averaged about 25 minutes, as freshmen. With Brown back as the primary caretaker of the ball, the Owls are going to have more than enough weapons that can take care of the ball. That is not even factoring in Temple’s freshmen guards, Nate Pierre Louis and De’Vondre Perry. Both freshmen were high profile prospects, but their ability to transition from high school level competition to D1 will be tested in their matchup against the monarchs.

 

Despite having an arsenal of guards available, Temple’s height is surprisingly going to be a key for how they will be able to contest ODU. The Monarchs are returning their second leading rebounder, Brandon Stith. The redshirt senior averaged 7 rpg last season as a 6’ 7” forward. ODU only has one big guy that is over 6’7” that could potentially be trouble for the Owls. Trey Porter, a 6’10” redshirt junior is coming back, he averaged 4.8 rpg last season. Temple returns leading rebounder, Obi Enechionyia the 6’10” stretch-forward with a nasty jump shot. Enechionyia averaged  5.8 rpg. In addition to their multitude of guards, the Owls will have a nice rotation of  big men. Ernest Aflakpui stands at 6’10” and is hungry on the boards, he averaged 5 rpg. Sophomore, Damion Moore, the 6’11” center will be vying for minutes with Aflakpui. Temple’s presence under the rim should be able to help them increase their ability to rebound as a whole this season.

 

Although ODU is returning 3 out of their 5 top scorers from their previous season, Temple is returning 4 out of their top 5, including their number 1 and number 2. In addition to Josh Brown who redshirted last season. Shizz Alston Jr. led the team in points with 13.9 ppg and Enechionyia followed with 13.1. Their sophomore guards are expected to contribute to the Owls’ offense even more this season. Rose averaged 10.1 ppg and Moore II 6.5.

 

The action kicks off at 1:30 on ESPN3.

Owls Fall to Rutgers 84-67

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PHILADELPHIA- The Owls were completely overmatched in their second game of the season at home vs the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, but his game could be a learning opportunity for the younger players.

 

Coming off an exciting home opener win vs. Delaware State, the Owls looked poised for a strong start to their season, but the Scarlet Knights had other ideas. Temple fell 84-67, in a game that was not as close as the score ensued. 

2017_02_01 WBB vs UConn

 

Head Coach Tonya Cardoza was not pleased with the result of tonight’s game, “the two most important things against Rutgers was making sure we took care of the basketball and not allowing them to get second-chance opportunities, and we did not do a good job of that, we gave up 40 points in that area, and 28 points off of turnovers.”

 

Coach Tonya Cardoza said after their win vs. Delaware State that the team had set a goal for themselves to have less than 15 turnovers per game. With Rutgers playing full-court pressure the entire game, they were able to force the Owls into bad passes, and bait them into having 23 turnovers.

 

When asked how frustrating it was to turn over the ball 23 times, Cardoza said, “It is really frustrating, especially with how easy we break the press, so to know how easy it is and revert and do something different from that, that’s frustrating. She knew they would turn the ball over just because it happens in basketball and with Rutgers’ defensive style of play, but she did not think they would turn over the basketball 23 times.

 

Tanaya Atkinson registered her second double-double of the season, by leading all scorers with 30 points and 13 rebounds. Atkinson kept the Owls in the game, by coming out firing in the 2nd half and scoring 8 straight uncontested points. She left the game, grimacing in pain and did not return, but later said it was just a “cramp”.

 

Mia Davis scored 13 of her own and was 1 rebound shy of matching Atkinson’s double-double.

 

The Owls dug themselves in a hole after the first quarter, being down 24-13. The Scarlet Knights never looked back and took advantage of the Owls miscues, by scoring 28 points off of their 23 turnovers.

 

At halftime, the Owls were down 45-24 and the game looked destined for a blowout, but they came out of the gate in the 2nd-half looking to fight back. Led by Tanaya Atkinson strong 3rd quarter performance of scoring 16 points, the Owls fought back and cut the lead down to 7. Cardoza was happy to see her team show some life and some effort in the 2nd-half and prove they would not go down without a fight.

 

The Owls were only able to close the gap to 7, as the full court pressure and depth of Scarlet Knights rotation was just too much for an Owls team that only had two players playing particularly well.

 

The Owls look to bounce back this Thursday night as they take on the Wagner Seahawks, who are coming off two consecutive losses, at 7:00 PM at McGonigle Hall.

 

Owl’s Biggest Test Looms

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The Temple Owls won their second-straight game following their victory against the Cincinnati Bearcats. This marks the second victory in as many starts for quarterback Frank Nutile. After defeating both Navy and Cincinnati, Temple fans once again have hope their school will be selected for a bowl game. However, for the Owls to get there they will need to get through their biggest obstacle yet.

On Saturday, Temple will be playing against their AAC rival University of Central Florida. Currently, the Knights are the best team in the conference, and one of the best teams in the nation. The team is ranked 14th in the AP Top 25 and 12th in the Coaches Poll due to their 9-0 record.

This in large part has to do with the play of their head coach Scott Frost. After inheriting an rough 0-12 team, he has been able to rally his team and create one of the most well-rounded offenses in college football.

Frost has been generating national attention as he has turned a zero win team in 2015, to an undefeated team this year (College Football News)

One of the biggest standouts of this offense is quarterback McKenzie Milton. Milton has been great for the Knights with both his legs and his arm. So far this season he has thrown for 2,720 yards, 22 touchdowns and only 5 interceptions, while rushing for 350 yards and 4 touchdowns.

Milton is aided by his great receiver Tre’Quan Smith. The 6’1 junior has hauled in 40 catches for 761 yards and 10 TDs which ranks 7th in the country.

Mix this with their well-balanced rushing attack that features 6 players who have ran for over 100 yards and TDs on the season and you can understand why they are so highly rated.

Luckily, they do have a small weakness. While UCF may be ranked as the 40th overall defense in college football they have some flaws. First off, they allow nearly 150 rushing yards per game. With the recent emergence of David Hood, the Owls should look to continue his momentum in this game.

The second and more notable weakness of this defense is their pass defense. Currently, they rank 69th in the NCAA for most passing yards allowed. That is higher than Cincinnati who ranks 50th and who Nutile played well against.

If Nutile continues to distribute the ball to his wealth of receivers it seems likely that he leads the offense to another high scoring game.

For the Owls to beat UCF on Saturday, they will need to take advantage of the Knights’ subpar defense, while limiting their explosive offense.