Last season, the Temple men's basketball team was lucky to defeat Buffalo, 87-85, in overtime at the…
Scootie Randall and Khalif Wyatt each scored 18 points for the Owls, leading four players in doubles figures and eight in the scoring column. Jake O'Brien added 13 points off the bench, and Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson totaled 10.
In his typically understated fashion, T.J. Dileo played 29 minutes coming off the bench, took one shot – making a three-pointer – but had four steals and three assists. Hollis-Jefferson also added four steals as the Owls posted 12 on the game.
"We've got Jake coming off the bench, Dalton coming off the bench, T.J. coming off the bench, and Jake and Dalton are getting more comfortable as the season goes on," said Wyatt, noting Pepper and O'Brien are each in their first year with the Owls. "Jake can hit open shots and help us out. Dalton is big and strong and can be one of our best defenders. He can get to the rim, right now he's hitting open shots and he can do a lot more."
Despite the strong start to the season and the development of his bench, Temple coach Fran Dunphy hasn't been entirely pleased with the Owls' level of play in the early going.
Delaware forward Jamelle Hagins and guard Devon Saddler combined for 54 points on 21-of-35 shooting, almost helping undermanned Delaware (2-4) overcome the absence of two starters.
"We're not looking to do anything specific except making the best decisions on offense and play the best defense you can," said Dunphy. "We weren't really good defensively and Hagins and Saddler were very good. They shot great, they played well and (Delaware coach) Monte Ross had them playing well. I'm grateful for the win.
"It's great to win games, I'd like to win games while we're playing well. Delaware was undermanned. … We're happy to be 3-0. We'd like to be playing a little better basketball. We have to do everything better, defend better, our shot selection has to be better. We have to have a little more understanding of our roles."
The Owls never relinquished the lead after a Randall three-pointer gave them a 12-9 lead and they led by as many as 14 early in the second half. But the Blue Hens kept it a game and forced the Owls to close it out in the end.
Randall said the Owls showed their toughness down the stretch when the Blue Hens threatened to take the game away.
"We knew we'd have a tough matchup, (Hagins) was extremely good, they were coming off a loss, we knew they'd be ready to attack," said Randall. "The opportunity presents itself, (Wyatt and I) being leaders, we had to find a way to get the job done."
Dunphy admitted he is still toying with his rotation, utilizing the most depth on one roster since he arrived at Temple. The Owls will jump back into action Wednesday at Buffalo.
"It'll work itself out," said Dunphy. "I'd like to be getting some other guys a lot of time as well. The rhythm of the season will kick in soon here."
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