Temple Men’s Basketball is back. The Owls and new head coach Aaron McKie were able to fight off cross town rivals, the Drexel University Dragons, and come away with a win for their season opener on November 5th.
The Liacourous Center was bursting with energy as Aaron Mckie made his coaching debut last night.
It was a back and forth battle the entire game with no more than 5 points separating each team, until late in the 2nd half.
Senior guard, Alani Moore II was injected into the starting lineup was not shy early on. He came out shooting and drilling a three-pointer to open up the game, but his shots wouldn’t fall like he wanted them to later on going two for six from beyond the arch.
The pace of the game was set within the first two minutes and with it, came turnovers. Both teams totaled double-digits in that category with 11 for Temple and 14 for Drexel.
“I want to play faster,” McKie said. “But it’s something that we’ve got to work on and it’s something we may have to slow down to make sure we’re taking care of the ball.”
Early on both teams decided to exercise their full court presses which converted to a couple steals which would later add up in this big transition game.
Drexel’s freshman T. J. Bickerstaff came off the bench, coraling a number of offensive rebounds and converting them into buckets causing trouble for the owls.
Coming into the game for the first time late in the half, was freshman Josh Pierre-Louis, who had an immediate impact flashing his quickness and high-level athleticism creating scoring opportunities with two assists.
With 5:26 left on the clock Temple went on an 8-0 run but Drexel quickly answered as they took advantage of their offensive rebounding with a differential of 10-4.
Ending the half tied at 31 Coach McKie was less than pleased with the teams performance and let them know it at half.
“I gave them a piece of my mind. ”
The second start of the game was still sloppy with a combined six turnovers.
The Owls go opened up another run to the tune of 6-0 retaking the lead early on in the second half.
Nate Pierre-Louis checked back into the game mentally, finding lanes to the basket and earning himself shots at the line, where he was 6 for 9 making up for 15 of the teams 23 points in the second half.
7 minutes left in the game and Temple stabilizes with the greatest lead of the night at 54-42.
Quinton Rose was benched most of the second half due to an injury so players like JP Moorman and Nate Pierre-Louis stepped up down the stretch.
Temple held Drexel to 62 as the Owls surpassed them with a score of 70, as the game came to a close.
“I’ll take it,” Mckie said “I didn’t like the way we were playing… I was just unsettled throughout the game.”
All scholarship players got minutes as planned by coach Mckie, who wanted to test different lineups also giving time to those who were ready to go as others needed a breather on the court.
“Our strength is the depth of our bench” said Nate Pierre-Louis.
Temple Men’s Basketball has not advanced past the 1st round of the NCAA Tournament since the 2012-2013 season and are hoping to turn things around with new roles being fulfilled.
They will try and continue their win streak on Saturday, taking on the Maryland, Morgan State Bears.