(PHILADELPHIA, PA) After a 12 day quarantine due to positive COVID cases, the Owls are set to resume their season January 11th against the 6-2 SMU Mustangs at 3:00 pm eastern time.
Both games scheduled over the past week were cancelled, first versus Memphis, followed by Tulane. With these matchups being in-conference, all Temple fans were excited to see the Owls go up against a defeated team, unlike their past two matchups. Led in scoring by freshman guard Damian Dunn, seeing how they matched up with other mid-tier American Conference teams would have been entertaining.
COVID has hit the Owls hard throughout 2020 and 2021, as they are the only team in the conference to play less than six games. Having their season delayed multiple weeks, along with these past two weeks being taken away from them, they have been thrown against the wall compared to other teams in the AAC. This team is still very young, and it’s going to be interesting to see how they bounce back from all these setbacks.
Their opponent, the SMU Mustangs, led by guard Kendric Davis, were 5-0 the last time they matched up against Temple. After a successful trip to Philadelphia, the team has lost both of their past two games by just single digits.
Temple being 1-2 on the season, including 0-2 in their conference, this game is a must-win. Finding themselves in that last place spot in the AAC heading into Monday, they have lots of work to put in if they want to stay competitive.
Throughout the first three games, the main problem has been scoring. With their leading scorer only putting up 13.3 points per game, their dynamic scoring has not been enough. Their second leading scorer, freshman Jeremiah Williams, was thrown into the starting spot very early in his college career. Known for his high defensive energy, along with mid range shooting ability, he looks to have a bright future as the starting guard under Coach Mckie.
Another part of their low scoring has been because of their shooting percentages. Shooting 35.7% from the field, and only 30.8% from three, the Owls need to start converting their open looks from the field. With both starting guards averaging under 25% from three, there is just no excuse for poor shooting play from both Williams and Dunn. Brendan Berry, shooting a team high 47% from the field, and even more impressively 50% from three, he’s going to need some help from the other guys when it comes to the offensive side of the ball.
Coach Mckie has to draw up a perfect game plan to beat the Mustangs, a team that beat them all around in their last meeting. After the loss, Mckie discussed how they need to have a better interior presence. SMU shot 24/40 from within the three point line last game, hugely a result of letting big men Feron Hunt and Yor Anei dominate them in the paint.
Making the necessary adjustments should make this next game an exciting one to watch, and Temple is going to come out fueled knowing this game is must-win.