Owls’ defense comes alive against Buffalo

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Will Cummings had his best game as a Temple Owl, leading the team with nine points in the win at Buffalo. (Photo: Mark Jordan)

Anthony Bellino (@Bellino_Anthony)

Fran Dunphy’s Temple squad ran out to an 11-2 start, led by six Anthony Lee points, and never looked back at Alumni Arena in Buffalo on Wednesday night.

Buffalo couldn’t get Temple any closer than eight points and struggled shooting the ball all night and Temple finished with a 54-39 victory. In what turned out to be a defensive struggle for both teams, Temple (4-0) won using defense rather than offense to defeat the Bulls.

The Owls came in averaging 79 points per game but were held to only 54 against the Bulls. Temple frustrated Buffalo (2-5) star Javan McCrea early which helped them jump out to the early lead.

Dunphy knew coming into their game at Buffalo that containing McCrea was of the utmost importance. In the first half, McCrea was held to just four points as Temple ran out to a 31-16 halftime lead, he finished with a game-high 14. After giving up 75 points against Delaware on Sunday, Temple’s defense held Buffalo to just 33 percent from the field.

The Owls used a balanced scoring attack throughout the night that saw seven different players record points. Lee led the Owls with 10 points to go along with seven boards; he was followed by sophomore Will Cummings with nine, freshman Quenton DeCosey with eight and senior Khalif Wyatt who also had eight. Temple also got seven points and as many rebounds from senior forward Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson.

One of the biggest bright spots for Temple was Cummings, who played 17 minutes, six more than he played in the entire Delaware game. The sophomore guard finished the night with nine points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals.

The Owls got a huge boost from DeCosey, who scored eight points off the bench on 4-of-7 shooting and pulled in three rebounds. As the season progresses, the freshman forward has started to see more time on the court. DeCosey only saw nine minutes of action in the Owls’ first three games, but has played ten minutes the past two games.

Turnovers were were a factor for both teams, as Temple forced 16 turnovers but committed 11 of their own. Turnovers and shooting struggles were the main areas of concern for Dunphy’s squad, as Temple shot just 35 percent from the field and continually found themselves taking bad shots throughout the contest.

Temple will head into December undefeated for the first time in the Dunphy era. They will now look ahead to a home contest against Wagner on Dec. 1. The Seahawks, fresh off of an overtime victory against Princeton, will be Temple’s last tune-up game before back-to-back contests against Villanova and Duke.

Noteworthy News: Wyatt left the game with 7:49 remaining in the second half and sought attention from the medical staff. He never returned to the game after leaving. The senior guard later took to Twitter to say he will be ready to play on Saturday against Wagner.

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