HARTFORD- As the Owls prepare for their Semifinal matchup against SMU, Jaylen Bond is questionable to play. Bond is the conference’s leading rebounder and perhaps Temple’s best interior defender.
Temple has struggled against SMU this year, losing both games against the Mustangs. What kind of adjustments will AAC Coach of the Year, Fran Dunphy make if Bond does not play? There will be an increase in minutes for forwards Devontae Watson and Obi Enechionyia, who were phenomenal yesterday when Bond went down with his ankle injury against Memphis.
To beat a team like SMU, you have to be able to score inside and out, and lock in on AAC Player of the Year, Nic Moore. Moore shoots 43% from beyond the arc, and when he isn’t getting buckets, he leads the conference in assists with 5.3 dimes a game. Moore who is listed at 5-9, 170 lbs, is a very undersized guard, but don’t tell him that, because he has the heart of a lion when he takes the court.
Every superhero needs their sidekick, and for Moore, its Markus Kennedy. Kennedy won AAC Sixth Man of the Year honors and averages 11.3 points off the bench. In two games against the Owls this season, Kennedy averages 14.5 points and 6.5 rebounds, and that was with Bond on the court.
If Bond goes today, it is unlikely he will be at 100%, but the Owls need to knock down shots, milk the clock, and limit turnovers. If the Owls can do all three and get to Nic Moore, they could easily win this game.
If the Owls shoot 6-21 from three like they did in their previous matchup against SMU and let Nic Moore take over at the end of the game, things may get ugly.