Anthony Bellino (@Bellino_Anthony)
Sunday’s matchup between Temple and Delaware isn’t a game between Big 5 teams but senior guard Scootie Randall said that with the two schools being so close in proximity there will definitely be some added emotions when the Owls (2-0) take the floor against the Blue Hens (2-3).
“Some of our players know some of their players so does the coaching staff so it’s going to be like a Big 5 game to us,” Randall said before practice on Tuesday. “I think we just need to go out there, take care of business and get it done.”
Temple comes into the game with two completely different wins, and don’t have a true identity right now, which could benefit them in the long run. In their season opener against Kent State the Owls shot 52.9 percent from the field and 36.4 percent from behind the 3-point arc. Temple also had eight different players record a point in that contest.
Against Rice, it was a completely different story for Temple as they shot just 41.3 percent from the field and a dismal 15.4 percent from behind the arc. If it wasn’t for sophomore center Anthony Lee (6-of-8, 16 points) and senior forward Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson (8-of-10, 18 points) combining to shoot 77.7 percent from the field there’s no telling what may have happened. Against Delaware, Temple coach Fran Dunphy said his team will need to improve on just about everything if they want to be successful. He also said that it may be key that Delaware plays two games in the past week while his squad will have had a week off.
“I think we need to tighten things up defensively, we have to make better decisions on offense, we didn’t shoot it very well against Rice so that’ll be something we have to improve on,” Dunphy said. “They play Wednesday and Friday this week and we don’t play all week so I’m worried about them being more game ready than we are but there’s nothing we can do about that.”
Temple has been fortunate to get great inside play from Lee; through two games the 6-foot-9 redshirt sophomore ranks second on the team averaging 16 points per game and is first with 10.5 rebounds per contest. Dunphy said that his big man is doing a good job in playing within the system and knowing what his job is on the floor.
“He’s done well, I’m not very surprised, I think he’s worked very hard over the summer and knows what his role is,” Dunphy said. “He’s doing a good job with paying attention to his details.”
Lee will have his hands full against Delaware with Jamelle Hagins. Hagins, a 6-foot-9 senior is averaging 8.8 points per game and 11.8 rebounds per contest, and was a First Team All-CAA selection both last year and this preseason.
Will Cummings vs. Jarvis Threatt
This matchup on the point is between two sophomore’s who each stand at 6-foot-2. Cummings has struggled to find his jump shot early on for the Owls, he’s not forcing shots, the one’s he’s taking just aren’t falling for him, when they start to fall look for Cummings to be one of Temple’s breakout players. Threatt lettered as a freshman for the Blue Hens and comes in to the contest averaging 10.4 points per game and just under two steals per contest, Threatt has also struggled with his jump shot shooting just 32.7 percent from the field and 12.5 percent from three-point range.
Khalif Wyatt vs. Devon Saddler
The marquee matchup in Sunday’s game between Wyatt and Saddler comes down to two players who know how to score. Saddler comes into the game averaging a team-high 21.6 points per game, he also averages five rebounds per game. Wyatt comes in averaging 13 points per game; that stat may seem low but Temple has only played two games so far and Wyatt’s scoring hasn’t been needed yet. The 6-foot-4 senior has come a long way distributing the ball, averaging a team-high six assists per game.
Scootie Randall vs. Kyle Anderson
Randall is continuing to return to form after missing all of last year, through two games the senior’s start to his season has been memorable, Randall followed up a 31 point performance against Kent State with his first career double-double against rice (16 pts 12 boards). Anderson, a sophomore, will have his hands full with the more experienced Randall, Anderson comes in shooting the trey at 35 percent, which is good for the best on the Blue Hens roster.
Rahlir Hollis Jefferson vs. Josh Brinkley(?)
This matchup showcases players who each have a boat-load of experience. Hollis-Jefferson has done just about everything for the Owls. Against Rice he had a game-high 18 points to go along with 7 boards. He also averages three steals, two blocks and five rebounds per game. Brinkley averages nine points and 3.8 rebounds per game. He is one of just two three-year lettermen on Delaware’s roster this season, though he sat out Delaware’s game on Friday against Pitt, with Carl Baptiste getting the start in his stead.
Anthony Lee vs. Jamelle Hagins
This could also be considered a marquee matchup in Sunday’s game, Lee has been arguably Temple’s most valuable player through two games and Hagins (11.1 rpg) is the only player on Delaware’s roster that averages over five rebounds per game. Lee comes into the contest after recording his first career double-double against rice. Hagins will test Lee’s weight that he added in the off-season as they both tip the scales at 230 pounds.
Notable reserves: Temple’s bench was supposed to be their strong point coming into the 2012-13 season, but against Rice the bench only accounted for five points, and didn’t record a single point until just before the five-minute mark of the second half. Seniors T.J. DiLeo and Jake O’Brien along with junior Dalton Pepper anchor the bench for the Owls and will need to spell the starters with success against Delaware who have eight players averaging double-digit minutes per game.
Delaware has played seven players consistently this season, their bench is anchored by freshman guard Terrell Rogers and junior forward Carl Baptiste. Rogers and Baptiste each average 21.4 minutes per game, Rogers comes into the contest average 6.4 points per game, Baptiste is averaging 4.2 points and 3.2 rebounds per contest. With Baptiste starting on Friday, redshirt freshman Marvin King-Davis got his first significant playing time, scoring seven points and grabbing four rebounds in 25 minutes against Pitt.