The Temple Owls have been able to put away teams they are expected to beat albeit in unceremonious ways. Their opener saw the squad put up a measly 40 on a rebuilding American team at home.
The Owls shot 34 percent to outlast La Salle by one at the Palestra. Sunday was no different from the team from North Philadelphia.
Temple fresh off a 77-52 thrashing off #10 Kansas last monday at the Wells Fargo Center, needed a momentum victory heading into their conference slate.
Delaware State, led by first year coach Keith Walker, entered Sunday 5-7 on the season and were looking to ascend to .500 on the season. With the 25th leading scorer in the country in guard Amere May, the Hornets could hold its own in the offensive department.
On to the game itself. The Owls found their wings early sprinting out to a 10-2 lead on the Hornets with SF Texas transfer Jaylen Bond chipping in six points and five boards. With 11:45 left and the lead at 10, May put an end to the run with a three but sixth man extraordinaire splashed one of his own.
Owls up 14 with half of a half to go.
Delaware State cut the lead to seven but Temple initiated a stronghold on their leads which never materialized to less than eight.
Kendall Gray and May combined for 13 in the first half for Delaware State. The Hornets lacked a third scorer until 3:23 to go with Aric Dickerson nailing a three. The Owls had their third player make a field goal only 3:08 into the game.
The Hornets swarmed fast however in the opening portion of the second half with May drilling a three. Temple led 34-30 just under five minutes into the second. Transfer Jesse Morgan answered with three consecutive triples to push the lead back up to eight.
The Hornets shot 3-16 to open the second half before Dickerson connected on a triple following Morgan’s fourth consecutive three. On an offensively deficient team like temple, Morgan was the spark they needed to jolt their advantage back up.
The two teams exchanged free throws as the Owls went back up by double digits. May finally sank a jumper with 6:14 remaining after the five minute drought but his efforts were nullified. Temple didn’t fare as poorly as the Hornets in the second half, but their efforts from deep aided them with Morgan connecting on another triple late.
The Owls would hang on for the 66-56 victory winning their final non-conference matchup of the season before heading to Connecticut to open AAC play.
Delaware State shot a porous 29 percent on the game with Amere May dropping 21 points in a losing effort.
Temple (9-4) heads to the court of the defending champion UConn Huskies tomorrow at 1:00 on ESPN2.