Temple continued its recent surge Sunday, besting UCF (7-6) 84-78 on North Broad Street. The Owls improved to 11-4 on the season and 5-0 since their newest transfers, Jesse Morgan and Devin Coleman, were deemed eligible to play.
Temple guard Will Cummings talked about how the team is coming together and what’s different in this year’s team compared to a season ago.
“We’re still learning each other game-by-game and practice by practice,” Cummings said. “We have a different group of guys than we had last year and guys who’ve come in here halfway through the season. We’re still feeling each other out, but we have different guys step up each game. Other teams can’t really focus on one or two guys with us anymore, they have to focus on the whole team.”
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Four Owls scored in double-digits, led by Jaylen Bond’s career-high of 21 points and 14 rebounds. Cummings (21 points), Josh Brown (14 points) and Quenton DeCosey (12 points) all reached double-digits as well. Bond, who had his fifth game of double-digits in points this season, spoke about the rhythm he’s found offensively.
“I’m just more comfortable within the offense and playing aggressively on both ends of the court,” Bond said. “I’m playing to my strengths right now which is leading to easy points on offense.”
Not usually one of his strengths, Bond hit a three-pointer to give the Owls an early 7-6 lead in the first half. Coach Fran Dunphy talked about how he’d like to see him expand this part of his game as the season wears on.
“He doesn’t need to manufacture three’s but if he gets them within the offense he needs to shoot it and keep the defense honest,” Dunphy said. “But, his greatest attribute to us offensively is in follow ups and stick backs.”
With 13 first half points from Bond, the Owls stretched their lead to 38-26 at halftime. The Knights opened the second half on a 7-0 run to cut Temple’s lead to just five, but never got closer. The Owls followed with an 11-2 run of their own after to push their lead back up to 14.
The Knights were led by B.J. Taylor’s 21 points and Daiquan Walker’s 17 points in the loss. It was a nice revenge game for Temple, who had lost 78-76 a season ago down in Florida.
The Owls improved to 9-0 at home this season in the win and to 2-0 in the American Conference. They face Tulane (11-3) on the road Wednesday and come back home for Tulsa (8-5) on Saturday.