Josh Brown, Temple top Louisiana Tech

The Temple men’s basketball team gave up just 37 points in its opening 40-37 win over American last Friday night. The Owls allowed more than that to Louisiana Tech in the first half Monday night but still came away with an 82-75 victory to improve to 2-0 on the season heading into a telling matchup against Duke on Friday night.

The Temple men’s basketball team gave up just 37 points in its opening 40-37 win over American last Friday night.

The Owls allowed more than that to Louisiana Tech in the first half Monday night but still came away with an 82-75 victory to improve to 2-0 on the season heading into a telling matchup against Duke on Friday night.

Sophomore guard Josh Brown scored a career-high 17 points and grabbed seven rebounds, also a career high.

“I told everyone after last season I wanted to be here all summer, I didn’t want to go home,” said Brown, who was 6-of-9 from the field. “I was in the gym every day working on my shot. I wanted to help the team this year, because I didn’t feel like I helped them last year.

“I just want to be the best basketball player I can be. My teammates know I’m always one of the first ones in and the last ones out, and I just want to help my team with that effort.”

Said Temple coach Fran Dunphy: “(Brown) really played well. I mentioned it to a number of people. If you were saying who made the biggest strides from one year to the next, Josh Brown was it. He became a competent shooter. He was strong for us, had some toughness about him and did a good job.”

Will Cummings scored 20 points and snatched a career-high nine rebounds for the Owls, while Quenton DeCosey also scored 20 points.

It was an impressive win against a team receiving votes in the NCAA Top 25 polls which returned four starters from a 29-win squad a year ago. The Owls were missing Jaylen Bond (ankle) for the second straight game and won’t have transfer guards Devin Coleman and Jesse Watson available until Dec. 18.

Temple is 2-0 a year after going 9-22 and losing many close games.

Even though they gave up 75 points, the Owls held the Bulldogs to 40.3 percent shooting and 34.6 percent on threes. Louisiana Tech hurt itself by going 12-of-26 from the line.

“The reality is we couldn’t be any worse (on defense) than we were last year,” said Dunphy. “We weren’t any good, and that’s all on the coach. So now we’re buying in. We’re understanding it’s part of the game we have to be better at. Overall I think we’re better defensively. We’ve worked hard at it, talked about it enough. We should be better.”

It didn’t take long to realize this was going to be a different type of game than Friday’s defensive battle. The Bulldogs’ Raheem Appleby (26 points) scored on a 3-point play off the tip four seconds in, and Alex Hamilton added a transition basket at the 20-second mark for a 5-0 lead.

When Cummings, the senior point guard, went to the bench with two fouls midway through the first half, the Bulldogs went on a run that gave them a 29-17 lead. But with Cummings back in the game and managing his foul trouble, Temple pulled within 38-34 at the break.

The Owls then opened the second half on a 10-0 run and never trailed again. After the Bulldogs stopped the run with a Hamilton jumper to make it 44-40, Brown hit a layup and three-pointer to push the lead to nine.

“We were just being patient, we got ahead of ourselves (in the first half),” said Cummings. “We played into it, starting with me. We just got into the locker room, re-focused and slowed the game down to the way we wanted to play.”

Temple led by at least four points the rest of the way and took their first double-digit lead at the 8:21 mark on a jumper by freshman Obi Enechionyia.

“This team was a faster team, they forced us to run up and down,” said DeCosey. “It was a faster pace, so we just had to pick and choose when to push it and when not to push it.

“They were trying to bait us all game into playing fast and turning us over. We did a good job in the second half of slowing down and managing the game.”

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