Veterans lead Temple past St. Joe's in Josh Brown's return

Associated Press

Veterans lead Temple past St. Joe's in Josh Brown's return


For nearly 15 minutes of game time, Temple senior Josh Brown sat on the sidelines. Literally.

Because St. Joe’s didn’t have a stationary bike for him to use, Brown stayed loose by sitting on the court beside the Owls' bench, stretching his left leg as Temple fought back from an early deficit.

And with 6:29 left in the first half, Brown checked in for the first time this season, contributing to the Owls' 78-72 win over Big 5 rival Saint Joseph's on Wednesday night (see Instant Replay).

If you ask Brown though, he wasn’t too hyped for this game because of the influence of his teammates.

“These guys kind of made it just another game for me,” Brown said. “They just kept me even-keeled, kept my jitters down and it was just another game for me out there.”

The senior captain, who worked his way back after suffering an Achilles injury during offseason workouts, injected himself straight into the action late in the first half. Brown looked himself, not seeming hobbled or hesitant while staring down a sold-out Hagan Arena crowd, not to mention a youthful St. Joe’s team. The Owls' leader made an impact on and off the ball offensively while adding an edge to Temple's defense, including an impressive block in the second half.

A minute after entering, Brown drained a long jumper with his foot on the line. Just before the end of the half, he scored for the last time in the game, finishing with four points.

Coach Fran Dunphy said the original plan was to limit Brown to five minutes in each half, but the senior got 14 total minutes, playing 7½ minutes in the final half.

“I’m delighted that Josh Brown played,” St. Joe’s coach Phil Martelli said. “Absolutely delighted. These kids get 120 opportunities and for that kid to come back from whatever that injury was that quickly, I’m delighted because he’s a nice kid as everyone that represents Temple is because of Fran. … What better way than to be in a Philadelphia game your first time out.”

Off to a 5-2 start, the Owls have oftentimes been carried by their young core, particularly freshmen Alani Moore II and Quinton Rose alongside sophomore Shizz Alston. However, with the return of Brown, the upperclassmen made the biggest impact in the road win.

Temple overcame its slow start thanks to some lights-out shooting from junior Obi Enechionyia. The 6-foot-10 forward presented a matchup nightmare for the Hawks, making 6 of 10 shots before the break, including a 4-for-4 mark from beyond the arc. Martelli compared the junior to the Hawks’ recent graduate, Isaiah Miles, a stretch-forward who can’t be guarded by a traditional forward or center.

“I try to be that type of player [like Miles] and cause problems for the other team,” Enechionyia said. “I think that opens a lot of opportunities not just for myself but for my teammates. When they have to focus on a guy more than usual, guys get open.”

Despite a cold start to the second half for Enechionyia, the junior came on at the end. With Temple up just one point in the final two minutes, Enechionyia found his way open for a three. While it rimmed out, Daniel Dingle — the only senior to start for either team — produced a key tip-in.

“The Dingle tip-in to me was the play,” Martelli said. “We had done a really good job really on everybody but Obi, but plays at the rim, just leaving some plays out there. … Plays at the rim, to me, were the deciding factor.”

Enechionyia then finished off the Hawks with a block on one end and a dagger from three to produce the 78-72 final margin.

In a similar situation to the Owls, the Hawks have had to rely on a young core after losing DeAndre' Bembry and Miles from last season. Despite a third straight loss, St. Joe's acquitted itself well in front of a raucous home crowd.

The Hawks' starting backcourt made the biggest noise as Saint Joseph's made the Big 5 game a back-and-forth contest in the final 20 minutes. Junior Shavar Newkirk and sophomore Lamarr Kimble combined for 34 points, 14 assists and 13 rebounds, making 7 of 10 from three. Newkirk had 22 points, his fourth straight game with at least 20 points.

Each time Temple sought to put away the Hawks in the second half, St. Joe's would respond with a key run. Martelli pointed out that his squad reversed an early-season trend of losing the first five minutes of the second half, cutting into Temple’s three-point first-half lead despite the Owls making their first four shots after the break.

While Temple’s upperclassmen would finish off St. Joe’s, the Owls’ freshmen made an impact yet again. Rose dazzled with his court vision off the bench, dishing three assists to go with a 14-point effort. Thanks to Rose and Brown, Temple’s bench outscored St. Joe’s, 22-9.

After the hard-fought matchup, neither team gets a reprieve from Big 5 action in its next game. St. Joe’s makes the short trip to the Pavilion for a date with No. 2 Villanova while Temple returns home to face Penn.

With his first game home on Saturday, Brown has the chance to keep taking a step forward in his recovery and possibly extend his minutes. After topping the Hawks, the senior guard sat at the podium with a large grin. When asked about the ice on his left leg, Brown smiled even wider while referencing another Philly basketball player who returned from injury this year.

“It’s just protocol,” Brown said about the ice. “Trusting the process, that’s all it is.”

Temple-UConn observations: Despite valiant effort from Marchi, Owls lose 1st homecoming game since 2008

Temple-UConn observations: Despite valiant effort from Marchi, Owls lose 1st homecoming game since 2008


That’s why football is a week-to-week game. Forget about momentum.

Temple found that out the hard way. After coming alive in a big road win over East Carolina last week, the Owls were humbled when a fourth-quarter rally fell short Saturday in a 28-24 homecoming loss to Connecticut at Lincoln Financial Field.

The Owls had one final shot at the victory with a drive in the final minute, but a Logan Marchi heave to the end zone was broken up.

The loss dropped Temple back under .500 at 3-4 (1-3 American Athletic Conference). UConn moved to 2-5 (2-2) with the victory.

• Say what you want about Temple quarterback Marchi (and you surely will after this game), but the guy is a fighter. Whether things are going his way or not, he continues to try to search for his receivers and attempt to squeeze the ball into those windows on the field. He made it two consecutive games with 300-plus yards passing as he was 33 of 54 for 356 yards with one touchdown and one interception Saturday.

• The game marked Temple’s first homecoming loss in nearly a decade. TU hadn’t suffered a homecoming defeat since a 7-3 loss to Western Michigan on Sept. 27, 2008. On that day, former Eagles DB Jaiquawn Jarrett was beaten in coverage on a double move in the third quarter for the game’s lone touchdown. Coming into Saturday, the Owls had won eight straight homecoming matchups by an average margin of 19.3 points.

• There was a rare sighting for Temple at the Linc: a rushing touchdown from a tailback. In fact, there were two. David Hood, who became the first Owls tailback to score on a run this season in last week’s rout of East Carolina, punched it in from one yard out to open the scoring in the first quarter. Ryquell Armstead weaved his way into the end zone for a 10-yard TD on the first play of the fourth quarter.

• Delvon Randall is simply a playmaker. The Owls’ leading tackler, Randall added another five stops in Saturday’s win. The junior DB also made a beautiful play along the sideline in the first quarter when he undercut an out route for an interception. It marked Randall’s third straight game with a pick. The Owls only have four interceptions this season and Randall has three of them.

• My colleague Greg Paone touched on college football’s targeting rule a couple of weeks ago (see story)We agree on pretty much all of the nuts and bolts of the rule. I’m glad it’s in place to protect players from violent and unnecessary hits. However, the more I see it called each week — and it seems like there is at least one in every game now — the more I’m starting to dislike the implementation. Temple defensive lineman Sharif Finch was ejected for targeting on Saturday when he went high on Huskies quarterback Bryant Shirreffs on a third-quarter touchdown pass. Shirreffs sold the hit by jerking his head back as he fell to the ground, but it was definitely worthy of a penalty. Was it a late hit? Yes. A bone-headed hit? Absolutely. But one worthy of Temple losing a top defensive player for the remainder of the game? I don’t think so.

• Speaking of Shirreffs, it’s easy to see why the Huskies have the best passing offense in the AAC. He didn’t show it with yardage in this tilt (just 105), but he was able to connect on three touchdowns through the air. He also added 39 yards on the ground, including a key run up the middle late in the fourth quarter.

• The Owls simply aren’t a good enough team to overcome 12 penalties for 117 yards.

• Like any other major college football game around the country, Saturday’s matchup at the Linc had scouts from NFL teams listed to attend. Of course, the Eagles were listed for several scouts in their home stadium. While the Miami Dolphins, Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers were also among those expected to have representatives at the game, there was only one other team labeled for more than one scout besides the Eagles — the New York Giants. At 0-5, they can certainly use all the help they can get right now.

• Temple will look to rebound when the Owls travel to play their final non-conference opponent in Army at 12 p.m. next Saturday.

Temple eyes streak, Penn looks to dethrone Columbia, Villanova on the road

USA Today Images

Temple eyes streak, Penn looks to dethrone Columbia, Villanova on the road

Temple (3-3, 1-2 American) vs. UConn (1-4, 0-3 American)
Lincoln Financial Field, ESPNews
Noon Saturday

Last time out
Temple beat East Carolina, 34-10, last Saturday.

UConn lost to Memphis, 70-31, last Saturday.

Scouting report
Last week, quarterback Logan Marchi finally got on track with his first 300-yard game of the season against East Carolina. This week, the redshirt sophomore will face UConn, the team he initially committed to in high school under former coach Paul Pasqualoni. Marchi was then denied after a coaching change was made. The Huskies have the worst passing defense in the AAC, giving up 399.8 passing yards per game, and have allowed 19 touchdowns through the air in 2017. If Marchi can play well for a second week in a row, look for Temple’s offense to put up some points. 

Another matchup to look at is UConn’s passing attack against Temple’s defense. The Huskies’ boast the best passing offense in terms of yards in the AAC, averaging 325.8 yards per game, but have only scored nine touchdowns this year. Temple, on the other hand, allows the eighth-most passing yards in the conference (253 yards per game), but is ranked fourth in the conference in scoring defense, allowing 26 points per game. Connecticut must convert drives into touchdowns against this Owls defense if it wants to compete.

What it means
Temple’s hopes to reach the AAC championship game might not be realistic anymore but its bowl hopes are still alive. A win against UConn would put the Owls just two victories away from becoming bowl-eligible, which after their start would be good for Owl fans.

Series history
Temple holds the 12-5 series advantage over Connecticut, and is currently on a three-game win streak.

What’s next?
Temple travels to Army.

UConn hosts Tulsa. 

Penn (2-2, 0-1 Ivy) at Columbia (4-0, 1-0 Ivy)
Robert K. Kraft Field at Lawrence A. Wien Stadium
1:30 p.m. Saturday

Last time out
Penn lost at Central Connecticut State, 42-21, Saturday.

Columbia defeated Marist, 41-17, Saturday.

Scouting report
Penn’s strength is its rushing attack. They rank second in the Ivy League averaging 204 yards per game on the ground. Karekin Brooks has 543 yards rushing and five touchdowns so far this season. Getting the ground game going will be key for the Quakers this week.

Columbia defense has been strong so far this season. The Lions rank second in the Ivy League in total defense only allowing 316 yards per game and are third in the Ivy in pass defense. The Lions allow 194.8 yards per game through the air.

Series history
This is the 96th meeting between the teams. The Quakers hold a 73-21-1 advantage and have won the last 19 editions.

What’s next?
Penn hosts Yale.

Columbia is at Dartmouth.

Villanova (4-2, 2-1 CAA) at James Madison (5-0, 2-0 CAA)
Bridgeforth Stadium
6 p.m. Saturday

Last time out

Villanova defeated Maine, 31-0, Saturday.

James Madison beat Delaware, 20-10, Saturday.

Scouting report
Villanova has allowed just 1.6 yards per carry and 52 rushing yards per game this season. The Wildcats boast a strong scoring defense as well, the best in the Colonial allowing only nine points per game.

James Madison boasts the second-best rushing offense in the CAA averaging 223 yards per game and is second in scoring defense. The Dukes allow just 10 points per game to opposing offenses. Look for this game to be defensive showdown.

Series history
This is the 26th meeting between the teams. James Madison leads the series 14-11 and won 20-7 last season.

What’s next?
Villanova hosts Elon next Saturday.

James Madison travels to William & Mary next Saturday.