Jake O'Brien makes impact off Temple's bench

Temple's Jake O'Brien had 16 points and 10 rebounds Saturday.
Temple's Jake O'Brien had 16 points and 10 rebounds Saturday. (MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff)
Posted: March 04, 2013

Temple has made five consecutive NCAA tournament appearances in part because it always seems to have a solid scoring option off the bench.

Jake O'Brien is filling that role for the Owls this season.

The 6-foot-9 forward, who transferred from Boston University, is the team's fourth-leading scorer at 9.1 points per game.

Starting in place of injured post player Anthony Lee (hip pointer), O'Brien finished with 16 points, a season-high 10 rebounds, and three blocked shots in Saturday's 76-70 victory over Rhode Island at the Liacouras Center. That marked O'Brien's fifth straight double-digit scoring effort.

"He's probably been our most consistent shooter," guard Khalif Wyatt said. "Every time he's out there, he's making shots. And I mean that's just big for us."

O'Brien, who sat out last season at BU with a medical redshirt, decided to transfer in July because the Terriers were banned from postseason play in the American East Conference after announcing a move to the Patriot League for the 2013-14 season. Without conference tournament play, the Terriers have little chance of reaching the NCAA tourney.

"Temple is an awesome program," O'Brien said of his decision to join the Owls. "It always has been. You know coach [Fran] Dunphy has done a great job continuing the success of coach [John] Chaney. And you know it's a big-time program, especially for me, coming in from Boston."

O'Brien ranks third in the Atlantic Ten in three-point shooting percentage (42.9). He made 4 of 5 three-pointers while scoring a season-best 22 points in an 89-88 victory over Charlotte on Feb. 6. In Thursday's 83-78 win against Detroit, O'Brien scored 16 points on 6-for-6 shooting from the field.

"Jake has really helped us immeasurably throughout the year," Dunphy said Saturday. "He goes for 10 rebounds today, too. I can't say that's his forte. But to get that many minutes [35] and do the job that he did today, he's been a very valuable guy for us this whole year."

Said Wyatt: "I always thank Jake for coming here. He helps us a lot."

Contact Keith Pompey at kpompey@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @pompeysgridlock.

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