Temple Showed It's Tournament Worth In Win Over La Salle

By Matt Josephs
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

A team that had played five straight one point games didn’t need to make their fans sweat much on Thursday night as Temple beat La Salle 82-74. They made the Explorers pay for going small by crashing the boards and getting tons of second chances.  They closed out on their opponent’s shooters and made things difficult.  Defense has not been a strong point for Temple who has gotten into a few track meets this season.

The Owls are the most schizo team in the country because when they are at their best they beat Syracuse and St. Louis while at their worst they lose to Duquesne and Canisius.  This game showed why the Owls belong in the field of 68.

Normally when you talk about Temple, you talk about Khalif Wyatt, but on Thursday night we saw why this is a dangerous team. Wyatt had 17 points, but the star of the night was Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson who scored 23 while adding 18 rebounds with seven of them coming on the offensive side.  He’s the key to any run because teams are leaving him open and he has shown that he can hit the jumper.

This is a “deep” team at times especially when Scootie Randall is scoring too.  He put in 15 points and is trying to break out of his season-long struggles.  The senior was hot to start the year, but cooled off tremendously.  Randall has been working with a shooting coach to try and snap his struggles.  Jake O’Brien is also important, as he represents the best long range shooter on the team.  The Boston University transfer prefers playing outside the paint despite being taller.

We’ve just spent two paragraphs and haven’t even talked about TJ DiLeo and Dalton Pepper as well as Will Cummings. Point is the Owls showed why they should dance come March.  Remember this is a team that took Kansas to the limit at the Phog. They still have to play at Charlotte and host VCU and Detroit so there are more chances for quality wins.

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