Friday, November 14, 2014

Temple basketball to open Friday

PHILADELPHIA - Temple basketball season opens Friday when the Owls host American in the second half of a men's-women's doubleheader at the Liacouras Center.

The game is also part of the 2014 Northwestern Mutual Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.

It will be the Owls' first meeting with the Eagles since the two were members of the now-defunct East Coast Conference.  Temple leads the series 20-4 with the last meeting taking place at American on Feb. 26, 1982, a 67-62 Owl win.

This is the fifth time that Temple's Fran Dunphy will coach against American, where he served as an assistant on the staffs of Hall of Famer Gary Williams (1980-82) and former NBA coach Ed Tapscott (1982-85).  Dunphy is 4-0 against the Eagles with all victories coming while he was at Penn.

The preseason favorite to repeat as Patriot League champions, American (20-13) returns eight of its nine top scorers that led the program to its third Patriot League title. Reigning Patriot League Tournament MVP Darius "Pee Wee" Gardner (11.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 4.2 apg) leads AU, and was selected to the league's preseason first team. Junior guard Jesse Reed (13.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 1.7 apg) was a  second-team All-Patriot League pick last year while senior guard John Schoof (11.4 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 2.1 apg) was named to the third team.     

Picked sixth in The American preseason poll, the Owls are led by the backcourt tandem of senior Will Cummings and junior Quenton DeCosey.  Both named to the preseason all-conference second team, Cummings (16.8 ppg.) and DeCosey (15.4 ppg.) are Temple's top two scorers from last year, ranking sixth and eighth in The American, respectively.

Junior transfer (Texas) Jaylen Bond, a 6-8 forward out of nearby Plymouth-Whitemarsh High, and 6-9 freshman forward Obi Enechionya (Eh-netch-E-own-ya) will bolster a front court that features returning starter, 6-11 junior forward/center Devontae Watson.  

The Owls, who advanced to the NCAA Tournament in six of the last seven seasons, are looking to rebound from a disappointing 9-22 campaign in 2014-15.
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