SMU gives the Owls their Second Loss of the Season
(PHILADELPHIA, PA) In a back and forth game up until the last five minutes, the SMU Mustangs gained their sixth win of the season, giving the Owls their second conference loss 79 to 71. Led by Darius McNeill off the bench with 17, the Owls couldn’t keep up with SMU’s 51.7% shooting from the floor.
Holding Kendric Davis to only 13 points, the Owls kept SMU’s top scorer to his worst game so far. Yet the second unit had no match for McNeill or Yor Anei, who was recently activated onto the team, coming in with 14 points and two rebounds in 22 minutes.
Brendan Berry, backup guard for the Owls, had his best game of the season, totaling 17 points on 5/10 from three. His contributions from beyond the arc just wasn’t enough, as he was the only Owl to cash in on more than one of his attempts. Forwards J.P. Moorman and De’Vondre Perry shot 2/13 combined from beyond the arc, and missed some crucial shots down the stretch.
Guard play was not an issue, with starting guards Damian Dunn and Jeremiah Williams totaling 28 of Temples overall 71 points. The problem tonight for the Owls was foul trouble, as both Damian Dunn and Jake Forrester both couldn’t play as much as they wanted to. With Dunn fouling out with roughly two minutes left, the team showed they needed his explosiveness to make a run in the closing minutes.
When asking Senior Brendan Berry what advice he gave to the younger guys to prepare them for late game scenarios, he said, “Ya know it’s just playing your game. Just because the clock is winding down doesn’t mean you know you’re not going to play your game, you’re going to slow it down or anything like that.” Having Berry as not only the top shooter on the team, but a leader on and off the court will be important for the development of the younger guys.
Coach Mckie had an interesting game plan, as with nine minutes left in the game, he put out a lineup of four guards and J.P. Moorman, an undersized big man, run the center position. When I asked Coach about this lineup, he claimed he thought it could help their offense move faster and get some better looks. “Maybe it could generate some more offense for us. I thought it helped because it pulled their bigger guys from the basket.” Look out for the Owls to start running a lineup like this more often, as this lineup came into the game down seven, and cut the SMU lead to just three.
Temple is looking to bounce back from a two game losing streak against the 6-4 Memphis Tigers this Saturday at noon. With this being another conference game, this is a must win for the Owls, as going down 0-3 in the American conference would put them at a big disadvantage for the rest of the season.