Undersized Temple routs Central Michigan, 86-74

Temple reserve Aaron Brown had a career-high 21 points on 4-of-7 three-point shooting as the Owls beat the Chippewas.
Temple reserve Aaron Brown had a career-high 21 points on 4-of-7 three-point shooting as the Owls beat the Chippewas. (ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer)
Posted: December 04, 2011

Many obstacles stood in the way of a successful home opener for Temple:

The loss of the Owls' inside presence, Micheal Eric, who is out for six weeks with an injured right kneecap.

The absence of Temple's emotional leader, Scootie Randall, who has yet to play this season after surgery on his left knee.

And the fact that without the 6-foot-11 Eric, the Owls only have two active players taller than 6-6.

But none of that mattered Saturday. Undersized Temple still defeated Central Michigan, 86-74, at the Liacouras Center.

"Coach [Fran Dunphy] emphasized that we have to play faster," junior guard Khalif Wyatt said of not having Eric. "All this week in practice, we have been pushing the ball in practice on misses and turnovers.

"I think everybody felt more comfortable playing that way."

Making good decisions and hitting open shots, Temple (4-2) extended its home winning streak to 23 games.

The Owls made 13 of their first 16 field goals en route to shooting 51.9 percent. Temple finished 11 for 24 (45.8 percent) on three-pointers.

Wyatt made 3 of 4 three-pointers and all 10 of his foul shots to finish with a game-high 23 points. The Norristown High product also had a career-best seven assists.

Reserve sophomore guard Aaron Brown added a career-high 21 points on 4 of 7 three-point shooting. He also finished with a season-best five rebounds.

"Aaron Brown got an opportunity," Dunphy said, "and Aaron Brown really made the best of it today. So we are really going to need everybody."

The New York native's 22 minutes played was his longest stint since playing 30 minutes as a starter in the season opener at Penn. The 19-year-old averaged five minutes off the bench in the other four games.

"He is arguably our hardest-working player," Dunphy said. "I didn't think he had played great yet. Today, I thought he played great."

Guards Ramone Moore (17 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists), Juan Fernandez (10 points, nine assists), and forward Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson (13 points, 5 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 assists) were the Owls' other double-figure scorers.

Temple had a commanding, 24-point cushion (49-25) on Moore's layup 3 minutes, 25 seconds before intermission.

But the Chippewas (4-3) responded with an 18-2 run to pull within eight points with 18:31 remaining.

The Owls responded with an 8-0 run to extend their lead to 59-43. Temple maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the way.

Sophomore guard Trey Zeigler and junior forward Olivier Mbaigoto led Central Michigan with 22 points each. The Chippewas scored 32 points in the paint.


Contact staff writer Keith Pompey at 215-854-2939, kpompey@phillynews.com, or @pompeysgridlock on Twitter. Read his blog, "Owls Inq," at www.philly.com/owlsinq

 

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