TEMPLE’S BLIZZARD SNOWS SMU

by Dan M | Posted on Monday, January 25th, 2016

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BY: Dic Humphrey

The Temple Owls stopped number eight SMU’s unbeaten streak at 18 games with a blizzard of three point shots Sunday afternoon. The Philadelphians made 14 long rangers to just three for SMU to take an 89-80 victory over the previously undefeated Mustangs. A crowd of 6,096 braved one of the five biggest snowstorms in Philadelphia history to see the home town Owls prevail, and they stormed the court at the final buzzer. Temple improved their chances of going to NCAA Tournament with their third win of the year over a team ranked at the time Temple played them. It was the Owls’ fourth win in a row and improved their overall record to 11-7 and their American Athletic Conference record to 5-2 with the win. SMU dropped to 18-1 and 7-1, becoming the last division I team to lose this season.

The Owls took a 10 point lead to the halftime locker room at 44-34. They made 16 baskets to 12 for the SMU, and eight were three pointers to just one from behind the arc for the Mustangs. SMU hit nine free throws to four for Temple to stay reasonably close.

In the second half, the Mustangs cut the lead to as few as four points, but a Temple run pushed it up to 19 points, their largest lead of the game, with about 5.5 minutes left to play. SMU finished strong to cut the margin under 10 points, but never really had a chance to win over the final eight minutes.

Devin Coleman was the biggest thorn in SMU’s side. He was a perfect 8-8 from the field, with seven of the shots coming from beyond the three point arc. He came off Temple’s bench to lead all scorers in the game with 23 points. Quenton DeCosey almost matched Coleman with 19 points, which included a pair of treys. Daniel Dingle, who also did not start for Temple, was the third Owl in double digits with 14 points.

The Mustangs had their usual balanced scoring with five players in double digits. Sterling Brown tossed in 19 to lead SMU. Jordan Tolbert came off SMU’s bench to put in 15 more. Ben Moore added 13, his ninth consecutive game in double digits, while Shake Milton and Nic Moore each scored 10. Brown led the Mustangs in rebounding with nine, falling one board short of recording a double-double. Nic Moore had a game high seven assists.

The bottom line is that SMU played an ordinary game, not a bad one. It’s a game where Keith Frazier could have made a big difference. The Ponies made just three three-point baskets, none by Nic Moore. The lack of the outside threat made it easier for Temple to clamp down on SMU’s strong inside game.

There is no question that the winning streak has been a point of motivation as well as stress for the Mustangs. Questions were growing more frequent about the possibility of an undefeated season. It will be interesting to see if Larry Brown is able to re-focus the team now that an undefeated season is off the table.

Certainly, this team wants to make this season a special one, despite the NCAA sanction banning them from post-season play. A perfect 30-0 would have done the trick. That won’t happen now, but there is still much to play for, including a second straight American Athletic Conference regular season championship. The Mustangs’ 7-1 conference record leads Tulsa and Temple, both at 5-2 by 1.5 games. Connecticut and Central Florida are two games behind at 4-2, so there are at least five teams in the running for the championship as the halfway point of conference play nears.

The Ponies next play at home on Saturday against Memphis. The Tigers are 12-7 for the season and 3-3 in conference play and play Central Florida this week prior to the game against the Mustangs. Game time at Moody Coliseum is 7:00 PM (Central), and ESPNU will televise the game.

AND ALSO:

  • The 18 game winning streak is the longest to open a season in SMU history and fell two shy of the school record of 20 set in the 1955-56 season.
  • Markus Kennedy started for SMU instead of Jordan Tolbert, as he is a native of Philadelphia. He tracked down 40 tickets for family and friends.
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  1. Dee Powell says:

    Thank you for the concise reporting of yesterday’s game. I haven’t missed a single home game and usually watch the away games with friends, but missed it yesterday due to illness.

    Well, the result of the game didn’t make me feel any better, but I appreciate you.

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