Bond-ing Experience: Junior grabs 18 rebounds

Jaylen Bond grabbed a Liacouras Center-record 18 rebounds and Jesse Morgan scored all 15 of his points in the second half as Temple closed its non-conference schedule with a 66-56 win against Delaware State Sunday. The Owls are 9-4 heading into American Athletic Conference play, already matching last year’s win total in a 9-22 season.

Jaylen Bond grabbed a Liacouras Center-record 18 rebounds and Jesse Morgan scored all 15 of his points in the second half as Temple closed its non-conference schedule with a 66-56 win against Delaware State Sunday.

The Owls are 9-4 heading into American Athletic Conference play, already matching last year’s win total in a 9-22 season.

Players like Bond – who became eligible after sitting out last year as a transfer from Texas – and Morgan, who just became eligible three games ago after transferring from Massachusetts, are a big reason the Owls are on the upswing.

Bond continues to be a force on the glass and defensive end. He scored 12 points, blocked two shots, posted a steal and didn’t turn the ball over.

“I was just trying to be aggressive, crashing the glass on offense and defense,” said Bond. “I wasn’t keeping track of how (many rebounds) I had, but I knew I had a lot at the end of the first half and just tried to stay aggressive in the second half.”

Stingy defense keyed the Owls early as they hit the 12-minute media timeout in the first half having allowed just a single field goal in building a 12-2 lead. They carried the 10-point lead into the break, holding a 31-21 advantage despite Morgan being shut out.

The senior guard had no such struggles in the second half, draining five three-pointers and helping the Owls pull away after Delaware State cut the lead to four early in the second half. He also added five assists without a turnover.

“I just have to give it up to my teammates and coaches to keep encouraging me,” said Morgan. “Will (Cummings) found me for my first three. It started with stops, defense gets us going. When my first shot went down, I was locked in after that.”

Added Bond: “Jesse’s a shooter. Even if he misses a shot, he’ll keep shooting and we’re going to look for him as much as we can because we know he’ll make the next shot he takes.”

Temple was playing for the first time since stunning No. 10 Kansas on Monday, and coach Fran Dunphy admitted he was concerned how the Owls would respond.

The Owls shot just 32.5 percent, but held Delaware State to 29 percent shooting. The Owls had 17 assists to five turnovers and totaled 10 blocks and five steals.

“We certainly did talk about (a letdown) ad nauseum,” said Dunphy. “We just didn’t shoot it well early. A couple of those goes, we’re a little more loose. We should be better than we were tonight, and we just have to play better.”

The Owls start the American Athletic Conference schedule on Wednesday at defending national champion Connecticut.

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