Tai Strickland’s free throws seal Temple’s narrow victory over Delaware
(PHILADELPHIA, PA) Although being down by four at halftime, Temple bounced back in the second half and squeezed out a one point win against the Blue Hens, 75-74.
Khalif Battle (0) Dunking in Transition
Lead guard Khalif Battle had his best performance of the season, finishing with 29 points on 10-18 from the field. Battle looked very aggressive attacking the basket, as he led the team with eight free throw attempts and knocking down seven. Khalif has recently been forcing a lot of contested threes, so adjusting his play style inside the perimeter benefits the team’s offensive schemes.
Although struggling from the field, Damian Dunn was second in scoring behind Battle, putting up 13 points and five rebounds. With only three free throw attempts, I would like to see Dunn be more aggressive rather than settling for 15 foot jumpers.
Dunn is averaging 10 points a game this season, down three points from last season. With guards Battle and Strickland being threats offensively, Damian needs to be more effective without the ball in his hands. Only being a redshirt freshman, he still has four more years to improve on this aspect of his game.
Damian Dunn (1) Shooting over Dylan Painter (42) and Gianmarco Arletti (4)
For the first time this season, Temple ended the first half with more than 30 points (31). Starting off strong is something Coach McKie has continually talked about, and this is a step in the right direction for this young team.
As for Delaware, senior guard Kevin Anderson had his best game of the season, posting 26 points on 66.7% from the field. He also shot a very impressive 5-9 from downtown. Temple did not perform when it came to perimeter defense, allowing the Blue Hens to shoot 10-23 from three as opposed to Temple’s 4-14.
Closing out this game, Temple heavily relied on their free throw shooting to seal the game. With 28 seconds left up by two, Jeremiah Williams got fouled, and nailed both free throws. Then again with 15 seconds left up by two, Tai Strickland knocked down both from the line to finish off the Blue Hens.
Overall, the Owls shot 13-15 from the free throw line (86.7%) which is a season high. Since Khalif Battle talked after the USC loss about how this team needs to be better from the line, Temple has zoned in and continually increased their percentages.
Freshman Nick Jourdain seems to be taking over the center role in North Philly, as he doubled Jake Forresters minutes while having six points and four rebounds in the game. His ability to guard all positions at an elite level at 6’8 is great for the Owls, as he is the heart of Temple’s defensive intensity.
Guards Jeremiah Williams and Jahlil White played elite defense against the Blue Hens, combining for five steals and one block. Both these players have defensive identities for the Owls, and are getting more opportunities due to their hustle and willingness to play hard on both ends of the court.
Temple looks to increase their record to above .500 on December first home against the 2-3 La Salle Explorers.