HARTFORD- Temple picked up a huge win today in the AAC Tournament Quarterfinal; an 80-75 win against Memphis, and Coach Fran Dunphy picked up win number 500. Temple also suffered a huge loss today when Junior big man Jaylen Bond left the game late in the first half with an apparent right ankle injury. When Temple took the court for warm-ups in the second half, Bond was nowhere to be found. He did walk out of the tunnel at around the 17 minute mark, but he would not return to action. Filling the shoes of Bond is no easy task, but Devontae Watson and Obi Enechionyia had to step up to fill the void of Bond. The two finished with a combined 17 points and seven rebounds. Watson wasn’t on the board at all in the first half, aside from the two personal fouls he committed early in the game. His 8 points and four rebounds came in the second half.
Temple struggled early in the game against Memphis and they trailed by a point at half. The Owls could not contain Tigers’ forward, Calvin Godfrey who led all scorers at the half with 11 points. AAC Coach of the Year Fran Dunphy made the necessary adjustments at the half to shut Godfrey down. He would finish the game with 13 points.
It was a nail-biter in the final 39 seconds of the game when a made jumper by Memphis forward Trahson Burrell tied the game at 71. Off the made basket, Will Cummings split the half court press and found Obi Enechionyia in transition, and the true freshman got the bucket to fall as he got hacked. Obi would knock down three clutch free throws in the final 39 seconds to seal the deal for the cherry and white. Cummings scored a game high 21 points in the win.
Temple survived and advanced against Memphis, and Saturday at 3 PM, they will look to do the same to SMU, a team that they have an 0-2 record against on the year. One question remains as the Owls go into their game tomorrow against SMU… Will Jaylen Bond be able to take the court? If the Owls best interior defender is sidelined tomorrow, Temple may run into some trouble trying to guard AAC Sixth Man of the Year, Markus Kennedy. Whether the Owls take the court with or without Bond, Temple will need a plan to stop Kennedy and AAC Player of the Year, Nic Moore.