One Step Closer

As Will Cummings prepares to play the final home game of a solid career on North Broad Street, he is certainly finishing with a flourish. The senior finished with 16 points, seven rebounds, six assists and three steals as Temple overcame a slow start to top East Carolina, 70-53, in an American Athletic Conference win that clinched a first-round bye in next week’s conference tournament.

As Will Cummings prepares to play the final home game of a solid career on North Broad Street, he is certainly finishing with a flourish.

The senior finished with 16 points, seven rebounds, six assists and three steals as Temple overcame a slow start to top East Carolina, 70-53, in an American Athletic Conference win that clinched a first-round bye in next week’s conference tournament.

Temple is 21-9 overall and 12-5 in the league and will be the No. 3 or No. 4 seed in the tournament in Hartford. More importantly, the Owls took another step towards claiming an NCAA berth if they are not fortunate to earn the American’s automatic bid.

“We had to come out and be more focused, being on the road and it being their senior night,” said Cummings. “We had to weather the storm and just knock down shots. I’ve been preaching the last few days, don’t worry about the NCAA Tournament. Just focus one day at a time and one day we’ll get there.”

The game was delayed nearly 30 minutes because of a lighting problem and the Owls started slow, falling in an 11-3 hole, but some good three-point shooting brought them back.

Temple hit seven of its nine three-pointers in the first half and took a 41-33 lead into the break.

“That’s our game, guys like to shoot 3s,” said Cummings. “If we have open 3s, we’re going to take them.”

Quenton DeCosey and Josh Brown added 11 points as the Owls have a quick turnaround before the regular-season finale Saturday at the Liacouras Center against Connecticut.

Cummings and fellow seniors Jesse Morgan, Jimmy McDonnell and Nick Pendergast will be honored before the game, one in which the Owls can take an even bigger step towards their ultimate goal.

“There’s planty of people talking about (the NCAA Tournament), the fact we’re close, but as a team all we’re talking about is East Coarlina tonight and a quick turnaround against a good UConn team,” said coach Fran Dunphy.

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