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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, November 14, 7:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: SECU Arena (5,200) -- Towson, Maryland. Television: NBC Sports. Home Record: Temple 0-1, Towson 2-0. Away Record: Temple 1-0, Towson 0-0. Neutral Record: Temple 0-0, Towson 0-0. Conference Record: Temple 0-0, Towson 0-0. Series Record: Temple leads, 3-0.
GAME NOTES: The Temple Owls will try to bounce back from their first loss of the 2013-14 campaign as they visit SECU Arena for non-conference action against the Towson Tigers.
Fran Dunphy's squad began its season on a positive note as it edged its Philadelphia Big 5 rival Penn by five points at The Palestra, however the Owls fell to 1-1 on Monday when they suffered an 81-77 setback to Kent State in their home-opener at the Liacouras Center. Temple build a 10-point lead by the 11:31 mark of the first half of its bout with the Golden Flashes, but watched its lead slip away after being limited to only 40.5 percent shooting from the floor over the final 20 minutes of the contest. The Owls have posted 77.5 points per game through their first two outings.
The Tigers enter with a 2-0 record after notching double-digit wins over instate foes Navy (72-45) and Morgan State (95-75) at SECU Arena. Towson has done a terrific job of pressuring the perimeter as its first two opponents went a combined 7-of-34 from beyond the arc. While stifling the opposition, coach Pat Skerry's team has connected on 17-of-34 tries from 3-point range. The strong play has yielded the first 2-0 start since 2006. The Tigers have not started a campaign 3-0 since 1972.
This will mark the fourth meeting in history between the Owls and Tigers. Temple holds a 3-0 thanks to its 72-61 victory over Towson on Dec. 12, 2012 in Philadelphia last season.
Temple has a lot to replace from its 2012-13 team that reached the third round of the NCAA Tournament. It has received strong play out of forward Anthony Lee, who seems poised to take on a bigger role in his third season with the program. Lee has posted a double-double in two consecutive games to begin his junior season as he tallied 12 points and 12 rebounds versus Penn before scoring 16 points and grabbing 11 boards on Monday. Quenton DeCosey also performed well versus KSU as he netted a career-high 16 points with the help of 3-of-5 clip from behind the 3-point line. Will Cummings, who averaged only 5.8 ppg in 2012-13, has paced the Owls with 17.5 points and 5.5 assists per outing, but has also committed 10 turnovers in two games. Former West Virginia transfer Dalton Pepper is also off to a hot start with 34 points on 50 percent shooting from the field.
Towson's star forward Jerrelle Benimon began his senior year with a poor offensive performance as he went 1-of-8 from the floor to register only six points against the Midshipmen. He made up for the lack of production in the scoring column with 17 rebounds in the season-opening decision. The Colonial Athletic Association Preseason Player of the Year bounced back versus Morgan State as he registered a double-double with 21 points and 14 rebounds to go along with six assists. Rafriel Guthrie is also coming off a tremendous performance as he contributed 20 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the field off the bench in the team's most recent outing. Guthrie is leading the team in scoring through two games with 18 ppg. With Benimon taking up most of the opposing defense's attention, Marcus Damas (13.5 ppg) and Mike Burwell (11 ppg, 5 rpg) have been thriving on the offensive end.
Temple will knock off some talented teams this season due to its well-balanced attack, but this Tigers squad is even deeper and has a legitimate NBA prospect spearheading the charge. Although it will not be easy, the Tigers should finally be able to overcome Temple to stay perfect.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Towson 82, Temple 75
11/14 10:34:25 ET
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