Temple Owls

Matt Rhule back in Philadelphia for NFL draft with former Temple players

Matt Rhule back in Philadelphia for NFL draft with former Temple players

Baylor coach Matt Rhule is spending the rest of this week back in Philadelphia, where he will be at the NFL draft with his former Temple players while also touting the Bears.

"I'm there to support my Temple kids, and I'm there to sell Baylor to future recruits, and make sure that all kids that I'm recruiting know that our process is doing things that no one thought was possible," Rhule said Tuesday. "Five kids made NFL teams last year from the Temple Owls."

There will also be appearances on the NFL Network and visits to some of his favorite restaurants -- he made reservations in advance -- in the town where he spent 10 of the past 11 seasons. He is staying in a hotel only about five minutes where he used to live.

Rhule became Baylor's coach in December , fresh off an American Athletic Conference title and a second consecutive 10-win season with the Owls.

The Bears wrapped up their first spring under Rhule with their Green and Gold game Saturday. They spent the 15 spring working on new offenses and defensive schemes, while also taking care of their academics and doing more than 700 hours of community service.

Temple linebacker Haason Reddick , a potential first-round pick, invited Rhule to be with him in the green room at the draft Thursday night. Owls offensive tackle Dion Dawkins is also expected to be a high pick, and Temple has at least two other players that could be drafted in the later rounds.

"I'm there because those kids asked me to come. It's as gratifying an experience as I've ever had," Rhule told the AP by phone before leaving the Waco campus for Philadelphia.

Among the Bears expected to get drafted are receiver KD Cannon, who left Baylor after his junior season, and center Kyle Fuller. Quarterback Seth Russell, who had each of his last two seasons cut short by injuries, could also get an NFL chance.

Rhule first went to Temple as an assistant under Al Golden in 2006, then spent the next decade there -- except for the 2012 season in the NFL as an assistant offensive line coach for the New York Giants. He returned to Philadelphia as the Owls head coach in 2013, and they went from 2-10 and 6-6 seasons to the best two-season stretch in school history.

"Those older kids, I think they recognize how hard all of our assistant coaches and myself worked for them, and we recognize how hard they worked for us," he said. "When I left, they understood that this was the next step in my journey, and I understood that going to the NFL was the next step in their journey."

Like he did at Temple, Rhule he wants every kid that comes to Baylor to want to get an education, win conference and national championships, and want to play in the NFL. The goal is for players to try to excel in everything that they do.

"It's not about trying to pick one thing to be great at, it's about trying to be great at everything that's important to you," Rhule said. "That's a major step for kids and for programs."

Temple put back on its heels in AAC tourney ouster

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Temple put back on its heels in AAC tourney ouster


ORLANDO, Fla. -- No. 11 Wichita State has advanced to the semifinals of American Athletic Conference tournament.


Landry Shamet scored 24 points, Rashard Kelly had 16 and the Shockers held off pesky Temple for an 89-81 victory on Friday night.

Wichita State (25-6) also got a strong performance from its reserves, including 13 points from Austin Reaves. Next up is the winner of the Houston-Central Florida game.

The Shockers won two of three against the Owls this season, and the outcome was in doubt every time.

"We certainly do bring out the best in them," Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall said. "The bottom line is that they make a lot of shots against us, but we usually do get great contributions from our bench. We go 10 or 11 deep and that's a good thing."

Wichita State led 78-75 with 2:23 left and closed it out with 11 foul shots.

Temple stayed close with its perimeter shooting. The Owls went 11 of 24 from 3-pointg range and shot 50.9 percent from the field overall.

Quinton Rose led Temple (17-15) with 25 points. Shizz Alston and Josh Brown each had 15 points for the Owls, who didn't have enough depth to keep pace with Wichita State in the final minutes.

"I loved our fight, I loved how we were hanging with them each and every moment," Temple coach Fran Dunphy said. "I think late we just needed another basket, another stop, but they're a really good basketball team. They made some veteran plays at the right time."

The Shockers were clinging to a 63-61 lead with eight minutes to play when Reaves, fellow reserve Markis McDuffie and Kelly powered a key 13-3 run. The three combined for 11 points in the surge and helped cool off Rose while leading Wichita State to a 76-64 advantage with just over four minutes remaining.

Shaquille Morris made two foul shots to put the Shockers up 55-45 early in the second half, but the Owls rallied behind Rose. The sophomore guard scored 12 of his team's next 14 points to cut the deficit to 61-59 with 9:10 left.

"Quinton did a great job in that stretch and got us where we needed to be," Dunphy said. "But again, we needed a little better effort at the defensive end and just be a little smarter."

Big picture
Temple: The Owls had some nice early season wins -- Wisconsin, Clemson, Auburn, South Carolina -- but need to take the next step in the conference season. The Owls were only 8-10 in AAC play.

Wichita State: The Shockers are aching for a rematch with top-seeded Cincinnati, but first they'll have to get past the winner of the Houston-UCF game and they've struggled with both. Houston handed Wichita State its worst loss of the season, and UCF took the Shockers to overtime before losing in the second-to-last game of the regular season. Wichita State will need another good night from its reserves to reach the finals.

Temple narrowly avoids disaster

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Temple narrowly avoids disaster


ORLANDO, Fla. -- Shizz Alston Jr. hit three free throws in the final minute and Temple avoided being upset by a lower seed in the first round of the American Athletic Conference Tournament for the second year in a row, holding off Tulane 82-77 Thursday night.

Temple, the No. 7 seed, advances to face second-seeded Wichita State on Friday in the tourney quarterfinals.

Last year the eighth-seeded Owls were upset by No. 9 seed ECU.

Nate Pierre-Louis made a free throw with 1:01 left to give Temple a 77-71 lead, but the 10th-seeded Green Wave roared back behind two Cameron Reynolds 3-pointers sandwiched around an Alston free throw to make it 78-77 with :37 remaining. Alston was fouled with :16 left and hit both free throws to make it 80-77, and Caleb Daniels missed a 3 with :05 left that would have tied the game. Josh Brown added two free throws with a second left to set the final score.

Obi Enechionyia led the Owls (17-14) with 19 points. Alston added 17 points and dished eight assists and Brown added 15 points, six boards, three assists and two steals.

Reynolds hit 3 of 7 from distance and paced Tulane (14-17) with 22 points. Melvin Frazier added 15 points and Samir Sehic and Ray Ona Embo added 11 and 10 points, respectively.