March is just around the corner, ergo March Madness is basically here. For a team that is hovering around being a bubble team, Temple may have just popped their bubble.
The Owls traveled up to Connecticut to take on the UConn Huskies, which Temple had previously beaten by their largest margin, 28, earlier this season. UConn did not take that lucky, and they came in with a different attitude on their Senior Day. Even though the Owls heavily outrebounded the Huskies, UConn still was able to secure a 72-66 victory over the Owls.
Rebounding is usually an area where Temple struggles. They are dead last in the American for rebounds per game with 38.1 and rebound margins at -4. Yet somehow the Owls were able to grab 53 rebounds tonight, a season-high, opposed to UConn’s 41. Temple was allotted themselves a slew of second-chance opportunities but was not able to convert.
Where Temple usually struggles on the boards, they make up for behind the arc. They average about 36% from the line, averaging roughly 8.3 a game. The Owls shot only 20% from three, shooting 6-30. UConn had nearly double the number of triples with 11 and shot only 29 times from behind the arc.
Despite struggling offensively and shooting 36.5% from the field and 50% from the foul line, the Owl’s still had four players put up double figures. Enechionyia led the Owls with 15 points and 8 rebounds. The big man did find himself in foul trouble, forcing Coach Dunphy to substitute offense/defense in the critical final minutes of the game. Shizz Alston contributed 13 points for the second game in a row, he had 8 rebounds as well. However, Alston only dished out one assist out of the Owls 12 total. In their last matchup with the Huskies, the Owls accumulated 20 assists. Quinton Rose added 11 points for the Owls, along with 6 rebounds and 4 assists. Nate Pierre- Louis had 10 points of his own to go with his 6 rebounds.
Jalen Adams was the guy with the hot hands. He dropped 25 points on the Owls, leading all scorers. Adams also dished out 8 assists and grabbed 4 rebounds for the Huskies.
The Owls have one more game before the AAC Tournament. They will take on Tulsa, another bubble team, Sunday, March 4th. A road win against Tulsa is crucial for the Owls, which are still hoping for a bid on Selection Sunday. There best chance and most likely the only chance is to win out in the AAC Tournament.