The end is here. Well, the beginning of the end. The kickoff to the 2018-2019 men’s basketball campaign will also begin the Farewell Fran tour. This will be Dunphy’s last season as the head coach for the Temple Owls. What better way to start off Dunphy’s final season than with a Big 5 battle against his alma mater, La Salle.
This will be the 119th matchup between the two Philly schools. Temple holds a 76-42 advantage over the Explorers, taking three of the last four matchups. However, La Salle did hand the Owls their first loss of the 2017-2018 season. Dunphy is 28-8 in contests with his former school.
The Owls are going to have to keep an eye on redshirt junior guard, Pookie Powell. Powell averaged just under 17 points per game last season, and dropped 29 on the Owls in their last matchup.
Temple does have players that are able to put up big figures as well.Junior guard, Quinton Rose, dropped 21 on the Explorer’s last season and senior captain, Shizz Alston Jr., dropped 18 on them. Rose and Alston Jr. are inching toward the 1,000 point mark. Alston Jr. is at 946 points and Rose at 815. Rose is the returning leading scorer for the Owls, he averaged 14.9 points per game last season, and was named to the AAC Preseason first team for this upcoming season.
Temple is losing two key players this season, Josh Brown and Obi Enechionyia. Brown averaged 9 points per game and dished out 3.3 assists on average. Brown has been a mentor to his successor, Shizz Alston Jr. Alston Jr. proved a similar assist to turnover ratio as Brown, and was able to influence the scoreboard even more. Alston was the second leading scorer for the Owls with 13.3 points per game. The Owls will be looking to senior, Ernest Aflakpui heavily to crash the boards for the Owls, with the help of sophomore big, JP Moorman to replace Enechionyia, who averaged just under 11 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.
There are many miscellaneous keys to keep an eye for this matchup on the Temple end. The performance of Nate Pierre-Louis is something that will pique a lot of interest. Pierre-Louis averaged 7.5 points per game, and had an explosive second half of the season. He recorded a game high of 23 points in Temple’s heartbreaking 75-72 loss to Memphis. Alani Moore is also a bit of an enigma in the Owls’ lineup for this season. Moore had a strong freshman season, starting 23 of 32 games and scored a career high of 26 points against Yale. With the return of Josh Brown last season, Moore’s playing time was decreased significantly. It will be interesting to see how he fares within the offense this season, if at all. Justyn Hamilton is another Owl to watch out for. Despite only having played 28 minutes last season, Hamilton has earned a lot of praise from his teammates for his ability on the court. He also earned a 4-star ESPN rating prior to coming to Temple.
The season tip-off is set for 7:30 on Tuesday November 6th. This is Temple’s home opener and season opener. The game will be streamed on ESPN3.