The Owls fall to a No. 1 ranked North Carolina team, 91-67 in Annapolis, Maryland. Temple rallied with the Tar Heels throughout the first half, but UNC went on a 13-2 run going into intermission. Owls went into the locker room down by eleven.
The Owls inside game struggled considering Carolina’s height advantage and depth. Temple’s Obi Enechionyia, not playing due to a foot related injury, was detrimental to the Owls big game. They were out rebounded, and could not capitalize on the post.
While the Owls seemed to struggle with out their injured sophomore, North Carolina did not fret in the absence of Marcus Paige. Joel Berry and Nate Britt combined had just under 30 points for the Tar Heels.
While the team struggled, Temple’s freshman should not be ignored. The score does not accurately reflect how intelligently the young Owls played. Levan Alston, Trey Lowe, and Ernest Aflakpui combined contributed 22 points for Temple. That amounted to nearly a third of Temple’s total points.
Coming into the season, Fran Dunphy and the rest of the team were desperately in search of someone to fill the shoes of Will Cummings. Despite a little batch of first game jitters, the freshmen came into their own and showed promise for the rest of the season.
Senior Devin Coleman also displayed a lot of poise and tenacity. He tallied a career high 19 points and contributed many clutch plays for the Owls. In the first half Coleman made key plays that kept the Owls in contention with the Tar Heels.
Ultimately, Temple could not put two halves together. They started off strong up until the last two minutes of the first half. They were crashing the boards, capitalizing on rebounds, and hitting their shots, especially their free throws. In the first half they were 9/9 from the foul line, but were 1/8 in the second half.
Although the game was a blow out, the Owls showed tenacity all the way until the end. Even after a brawl emerged in the final seconds of the game, Temple regrouped and showed poise after a tough defeat.