• Hunter Metnick

Temple comes out of South Carolina with Back to Back disappointing losses

(PHILADELPHIA, PA) After a fantastic second half against USC, Temple was looking to take the small amount of momentum they had and start off strong against Clemson. Unfortunately, Clemson just outperformed them in nearly every aspect of the game right from the opening tip, as the Tigers came out on top 75-48.

Temple had their best start to the season so far, as they went back and forth with Clemson for the first 12 minutes of the game. Even with lead scorer Khalif Battle struggling, Jeremiah Williams hit two straight mid range looks, along with Damian Dunn shooting very well.

Junior Alex Hemenway made a tough three to put the Tigers up by five with nine minutes left, and the momentum looked to be in favor of Clemson. Right after, Temple came down the court, spread the ball around and found Tai Strickland for three. The next possession, Tai stole the ball from Chase Hunter, and Tai banged in another three in transition. This forced Clemson to call a timeout with the score being 24-23 in favor of the Owls.

Damian Dunn (1) Attempting a Layup over Ian Schieffelin (1)

After Damian Dunn hit a mid range jumper with 6:17 left in the half, everything went downhill. Temple wasn’t getting the looks they wanted, nor taking care of the ball while Clemson took over the game. With this scoring drought, senior guard David Collins took over, helping the Tigers go into halftime with a 38-26 lead.

With Temple being known for their strong second halves, the young core believed they could come back against the Tigers, yet they were greatly mistaken. Khalif Battle only had two points on 1-4 shooting going into the locker room, while Damian Dunn wasn’t much better shooting 1-7 from the field.

The second half went just as bad as the first half went for the Owls. Lots of miscommunication on defense, along with poor shot selection. It was a rough outing for Temple, as they finished the game with only two players scoring double digits; Tai Strickland (16) and Damian Dunn (13).

Nick Jourdain continued his defensive hot streak to start the season, as he ended the game with five blocks, three of which coming in the first half. With starter Jake Forrester struggling to protect the paint, I am hoping that Coach McKie puts Jourdain in the starting lineup soon.

The Owls as a whole shot 35.8% from the field, and an even worse 20% from three as opposed to the Tigers 52.4% from downtown. They also committed 14 turnovers, seven of which coming from lead guards Jeremiah Williams (4) and Khalif Battle (3).

The main issue for this loss to Clemson was the lack of ball movement. While Clemson was spreading the ball around, finding the open man and using the shot clock, Temple forced lots of isolation possessions which led to bad shot selection. Clemson totaled 16 assists in the game, with more impressively five players recording three, as opposed to Temple’s eight total assists.

As for Clemson, the Tigers extended their hot streak to four straight. Guard Nick Honor played lights out, shooting perfect from the field and finishing with 19 points.

Within 24 hours of the Clemson game, Temple shifted it’s gears to the 1-2 Boise State Broncos. Led by guards Emmanuel Akot and Marcus Shaver Jr. The Owls were looking to get a win in the TD Garden before heading back to Philadelphia.

Facing the 1-2 Bronco’s, Temple went in with a game plan to attack the basket more and get to the free throw line. Although finishing the game with 22 attempts, they got outplayed on the defensive side and lost the game by 20, 82-62.

For the fourth straight game, Temple started the game rough, only putting up 28 points as opposed to Boise State’s 43. The Owls kept it close for the first 10 minutes of the game, as they were only down 22-17 with eight minutes left in the half. Emmanuel Akot hit a three off an offensive rebound, which led to a cold streak offensively for Temple.

In what seems to be a common theme, Temple had another dry streak late in the first, as they were stuck at 23 points for four straight minutes. During this time the Broncos scored six unanswered, completely changing the momentum going into half.

Zach Hicks (24) Contesting a Layup from Naje Smith (23)

Temple had their normal second half comeback, but it wasn’t enough as Boise State’s passing ability overcame the Owls defense. The Broncos finished with 25 assists, more than doubling their previous season high of 12.

The Owls had a rough scoring day, with Khalif Battle (19) being the only player to score double digits. Sage Tolbert III had his best game as an Owl, scoring eight points on five shots, while also accumulating seven rebounds and a block.

Backup guard Jahlil White got 22 minutes off the bench although not playing great to start the season. Although shooting 0-4 from the line, he finished with four points and one steal, and was very hard to score on all night long. The young prospect is very well respected in the locker room and will likely keep getting more minutes as the season goes on.

Freshman Hysier Miller (4) Attempting a Layup at Practice

Freshman Hysier Miller got his first minutes of the season and capitalized. Playing in garbage time minutes, he scored seven points on 4-4 from the free throw line. His shot making could be very valuable in a couple years, but with the abundance of guard play at Temple he looks to be the odd man out this year.

Falling to 1-3 on the season, Temple looks to bounce back and increase their regular season record before conference play starts in December.

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