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TUMBB Season Wrap

  1. 1. Joseph Williams Temple Men’s Basketball Wraps Up Its 2015-2016 Season The Owls Improved Their Record by 17 Wins After posting a 9-22 overall record last season (4-14 in conference play), the Temple men's basketball team showed improvement, finishing 13-5 in the American Athletic Conference, and 26-11 overall. Before the season even started, the Owls had high expectations going into the season. Three transfers, Devin Coleman (JR) Jaylen Bond (JR) and Jesse Morgan (SR) were expected to be key contributions to the team. While Coleman and Morgan were forced to sit out until the fall semester was complete, Bond hit the ground running, recording a double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds in just his fourth game as a member of the team. The Owls had a slow start to the season, but picked things up later in the year. After earning two home victories to start 2-0, they lost twice at the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic in Brooklyn, NY, one of the losses coming against the nationally ranked Duke Blue Devils. Temple would do well against their big five rivals, losing by only two to Saint Joseph's, but defeating Penn and La Salle. The addition of the three transfers proved to be important, as the Owls rattled off a six game win streak, beginning with their first game of eligibility against Delaware on December 18th . Included in that win streak were wins at the defending national champions Connecticut, and at the Wells Fargo Center against nationally ranked Kansas. The victory over Kansas, who were ranked tenth in the nation at the time, is seen as one of the high points of the season. Junior forward Jaylen Bond said “The Kansas victory was big because it had a little bit of everything. Beating a team that was nationally ranked, and had potential NBA players was big for us.” Just as the team seemed to be flying high, they ran into a roadblock on January 10th during a home game against Tulsa, when senior point guard Will Cummings went down with an injury. As one of the leaders of the team, the injury was initially seen as a huge blow, but head coach Fran Dunphy saw it as an opportunity for other players to contribute. “Will going down against Tulsa hurt us, but allowed an opportunity for other players to step up and contribute. Even when he returned the team was better because of the experience certain players got when he was unable to play.” After going 5-3 in January, Temple posted a 7-2 record over the next two months. A road victory over Memphis, and home victories over Cincinnati and Connecticut were signature moments in the attempt to get an NCAA tournament bid. “The Kansas victory got the most attention, but Cincy at home and Memphis on the road were two very important wins that some fans may have overlooked.” The Owls finished the season fourth in the AAC, earning a first round bye in the AAC tournament. They would take on Memphis again, to begin AAC tournament play, and advanced with an 80-75 victory. The next game would be against nationally ranked SMU, and the Owls would fall 56-69.
  2. 2. After being eliminated from the conference tournament, the team, fans, and alumni waited anxiously to see if there would be an invitation to the NCAA tournament. The NCCA tournament selection show came and went, without Temple hearing their name called, instead they were selected as a number one seed in the NIT tournament. A positive in being a one seed in the NIT, is that there would be three more home games, granted the team make it that far. NIT tournament play began with a 73-67 win over Bucknell. After that, Temple would cruise to a 90-77 win over George Washington, and a 77-59 win over Louisiana Tech. This earned them a trip to the NIT final four in New York City. Temple had the opportunity to play in Madison Square Garden, but came up just short, losing to Miami (FL), 57-60. Bond feels that this year’s team underachieved, no matter what tournament they participated in. “Even though we weren’t selected to play in the NCAA, our goal was to win any tournament we entered. So to not win the NIT, I personally feel that we underachieved.” Even though the season ended on a disappointing note, both Bond and Dunphy are looking forward to the 2015-2016 season. “Losing Will is huge, and don’t underestimate the value of Jimmy McDonnell as a teammate. Expect Devin [Coleman] and Josh Brown to have bigger roles next season.” Said Dunphy when asked about an early outlook to next year’s squad. Bond said “We’re going to have chemistry, a big goal of ours will be to compete for an AAC title, but we’ll use this year as motivation to improve for next year.”

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