Down seven points at the half to winless LIU–Brooklyn at the Liacouras Center on Sunday afternoon, the Temple men’s basketball team didn’t panic but senior point guard Will Cummings admitted the Blackbirds had its full attention.
That might not have been the case at the start hosting an 0-3 team that was one of the few programs the Owls handled in last year’s dismal nine-win season as they went up to Brooklyn and came away with a 36-point win.
Temple out-scored LIU-Brooklyn by 21 points in the second half Sunday after trailing 43-36 at the break to cruise to a 70-56 victory.
“I think everybody kind of realized we can’t just walk out to the court and get wins,” said Cummings, who finished with nine points and 10 rebounds. “That’s not how it works. They came out more aggressive and more ready than us, and we took it for granted we could roll out there and win. We understood it, and got ready for the second half.”
After shooting 1-for-15 on three-pointers in the first half, the Owls did just well enough in the second half. Quenton DeCosey hit three of them on the way to a team-high 15 points, and when the Owls did miss in the second half Jaylen Bond was there to clean up the mess.
Bond, a Texas transfer who has been dealing with a nagging ankle injury since before the start of the season, came off the bench to score 11 points and pull down 13 rebounds. Seven of Bond’s boards were offensive.
“That helps a lot when somebody is down there that can clean up the mess we make,” said Cummings. “He gave us some breathing room. He really helped out on the run we had.”
Bond said his ankle is about 90 percent right now. Coach Fran Dunphy said he was close to putting the junior in the starting lineup before he rolled the ankle in practice the other day.
“I try to be aggressive on both ends of the floor, and I was just crashing the boards,” said Bond. “I pride myself on getting offensive rebounds. (The ankle) has been pretty tough and I’m just trying to get back to 100 percent. Once I do, I can help my team a lot more.”
Said Dunphy: “He’s such a beast on the glass. In my mind, that’s where he has to make his mark. He wants to be a jump shooter, and I want him to be one too, but he has to be more judicious. He had a couple stick-backs …. I wouldn’t want to check him out, I know that. It’s really scary how good a rebounder he is and can be.”
Temple improved to 4-2 on the year and 4-0 at home, while LIU-Brooklyn fell to 0-4. The Owls now get ready for a pair of Big Five games against St. Joe’s and La Salle this week.
“Those games are all about toughness, you just have to go out there and battle,” said Cummings.
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