Point Taken

Three games into the Temple men's basketball season, Will Cummings had totaled a solid 16 assists -— but also 15 turnovers. Cummings has been surer with the ball since coach Fran Dunphy stopped practice to stress ball security. The junior has 20 assists in the last five games and turned it over just seven times. In each game, he has finished with more assists than turnovers.

Three games into the Temple men's basketball season, Will Cummings had totaled a solid 16 assists -— but also 15 turnovers.

When Cummings committed a turnover in practice following the third game, coach Fran Dunphy stopped practice and stressed the point guard's statistics.

The message was the Owls weren't going anywhere with Cummings turning the ball over five times a game.

Since the intervention in practice, Cummings has been surer with the ball — he has 20 assists in the last five games and turned it over just seven times. In each game, he has finished with more assists than turnovers.

"Coach stressed to me. ... He yelled at me in practice one day about that," said Cummings. "I had a turnover in practice and he stopped practice and yelled at me and made me aware I had 16 assists and 15 turnovers. Ever since that moment, I added that much more attention to that area and cut down.

"I would say that hurt us down the stretch in the (first three games) we lost."

Cummings' best game of the year came against St. Joe's when he dished out seven assists and only turned it over twice while scoring 16 points.

"I think he's playing at a pretty high level right now," said Dunphy. "That was a real good line for him. There's a couple other things he could have done better, but he's playing real well."

The win was the last in a three-game winning streak that ended with an overtime loss to Texas in which Cummings fouled out. In the game before the St. Joe's victory, Cummings had four assists and one turnover as the Owls eased to an impressive win over UAB.

"It's big not having him because he sets the offense and gets everyone where they need to be," said senior guard Dalton Pepper.

After the Texas game, Dunphy stressed that Cummings needed to be smarter when in foul trouble as they need him on the floor. In addition to distributing the basketball, the point guard is leading the team with 17.3 points per game.

"(Cummings, Pepper and junior center Anthony Lee) have to carry us until we understand what everybody's role is," said Dunphy. "They're not flawless or perfect, but they're trying to be the best leaders they can be."

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