Jaylen Bond played outstanding, locking down his 8th double-double of the season with 15 points and 10 rebounds. He also added 2 blocks and 2 steals. Even with such a performance, the senior is looking ahead to make sure his team is prepared for his final postseason go-around. “Our goal is never done. Our goal is to win the conference, and we’re going to win the conference tournament,” he said.
PHILADELPHIA – Temple secured the #1 seed in the AAC conference tournament with a 72-62 win over Memphis on Thursday.
On senior night at the Liacouras Center, Temple shot out of the gates hot- starting 5-6 from the floor. The Owls first 14 points came from seniors. It was junior Josh Brown however doing it all to start- ending the first half with 8 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds. The court general finished with 12 points, 8 assists and 7 rebounds. “I try to be aggressive, but not too much. It’s a timing thing.” Brown said.
Memphis’ Shaq Goodwin went 1-2 from the line on the Tigers opening possession just seconds into the game, and that was the only time Temple had not held a lead throughout the half. Goodwin ended the game with 16 points and 5 rebounds.
The Owls led by as much as 12 in the opening half and forced Memphis to turn the ball over 8 times. The Tigers came into the game averaging just over 12 turnovers per game. Smothering defense and 45% shooting from the floor for Temple provided the Owls with a 9 point cushion heading into the locker room.
Ricky Tarrant Jr. (18 points, 5 rebounds) had to lock down most of the scoring in the Tiger’s backcourt as leading scorer Dedric Lawson (15.5, 9.7) was held in check beautifully by the Owls. “If you told me we would hold Lawson to 10 second-half points, I’d be real happy,” said Dunphy Lawson was held to 3 points in the opening half, and finished the game with 13 points.
To cap a 9-2 Memphis run, Avery Woodson knocked down a 3-point shot on the wing in front of his head coach Josh Pastner with 4:33 that cut Temple’s once 15 point lead to just 3. Pastner called a timeout following a Temple miss on the ensuing possession. For the first time in the game, there was a noticeable tense in every Temple fan in attendance.
Obi Enechionyia had second thoughts about that.
The sophomore drove the lane and emphatically slammed it home on Temple’s first possession following the timeout, and the lead was back to 5.
The Owls didn’t stop there. Since the Woodson 3, Temple ended the game on a 12-5 run including a Devin Coleman three that ultimately sealed the deal with with 1:35 remaining. “I think we give some freedom to our guys offensively to shoot. That is after they give everything they have on the defensive end,” noted Dunphy.
A plethora of players got their hand in the pot, as for just the second time this season, Temple finished with 5 players in double figures. Coach Dunphy added, “Any time you can be well-balanced it’s terrific for your team.”
The Owls have a 3-day turn around and will be back in action on Sunday for their last regular season game, taking on Tulane at 2 p.m.