Jahad Thomas 'not 100 percent' after hurting ribs vs. Notre Dame


Jahad Thomas 'not 100 percent' after hurting ribs vs. Notre Dame

Temple running back Jahad Thomas injured his ribs Saturday night in the No. 21 Owls' 24-20 loss to No. 9 Notre Dame (see game story).

Thomas left the game briefly in the fourth quarter after landing on the ball while being tackled. Thomas returned, but said he's "going to be pretty banged up" on Sunday.

"I am not 100 percent," he said. "I don't think no one in the country is 100 percent. This is Week 8, Week 9 for everybody.

"I'm a little banged up, but like I said, everyone is. I just have to get the proper treatments and try to get as close to 100 percent for next week."

The junior gained 82 yards on 21 carries against the Fighting Irish with a 1-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter that tied the game at 17. It was his 13th rushing TD of the season.

With Notre Dame leading 17-10 with 10:51 left in the game, Temple faced a 4th-and-1 on the ND 1-yard line after the Irish stopped the Owls on three straight goal-line runs.

Instead of taking three points and trusting its defense, TU went for seven and Thomas punched it in on a toss after a timeout.

Head coach Matt Rhule said after the game the playcall was a run-pass option and credited offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield on the call.

"I thought (tight end) Sal Major made a great block and Jahad made a great cut," Rhule said of the TD.

"A couple of guys made some big plays on that drive, but Jahad again showed you that he's a big time player. I'm really proud of Jahad and the maturity he showed."

In the second quarter with TU on its own 11-yard line, Thomas broke off a 39-yard run on a 1st-and-5 to get the Owls to the 50-yard line. His run helped set up Brandon Shippen's 12-yard TD catch that capped of an eight-play, 94-yard drive for the Owls' longest scoring TD drive of the season.

Thomas also nearly broke a long run in the first quarter, too, but was tripped up for an 8-yard run. He burst through a hole on the left side of the offensive line, but an Irish defender was able to impede his momentum that led to him getting tackled at the TU 39-yard line. The Owls punted three plays later.

Against ND, Temple finished with 295 yards of total offense with 107 rushing yards. Quarterback P.J. Walker added 38 yards on six carries with a few double-digit runs.

In all, the Owls' offense had its chances against the Irish, but once again was haunted by some mistakes.

Thomas had a drop on a 3rd-and-1 in the fourth that led to a field goal that pushed TU to a 20-17 lead. Wideout Ventell Bryant had a drop in the end zone on a good throw from Walker.

"I think they did some good things on the offensive side of the ball," Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said (see story). "I don't want to take anything away from the quarterback, the running back and the receivers went up and got the football. They played very, very well."

Bryant, a freshman, didn't finish the game against the Irish after landing hard in the fourth quarter. The wide receiver said he lost consciousness.

"I fell down on my head, blacked out a little bit," Bryant said.

Despite his end-zone drop in the fourth quarter, Bryant was Walker's favorite target on Saturday night. He finished with six catches for 91 yards with a long of 28.

Center Kyle Friend also was banged up. Friend needed help off the field in the first half, grabbing his right knee but played through the pain. There was no update on him after the game.

As for Thomas, he said waking up on Sunday morning was "definitely going to suck," both from a health viewpoint and waking up after a tough four-point defeat on national TV.

"It's definitely going to hurt," he said. "But we're on to the next opponent. SMU, another conference game, another chance to go out there and play another AAC opponent."

Saint Joseph's comeback bid comes up short vs. Florida

AP Images

Saint Joseph's comeback bid comes up short vs. Florida

CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Keyontae Johnson saw Florida’s big lead shrink to almost nothing in the final minute. He made sure his teammates didn’t let this one get away from the Gators.

Johnson had a career-high 22 points to lead the Gators to a 70-62 victory over Saint Joseph’s at the Charleston Classic, playing without ejected leading scorer Kerry Blackshear Jr. on Thursday. Not that it came easily as Florida (3-2) saw its 18-point lead cut to 64-62 in the final minute.

“We just communicated, told everyone to stay together,” Johnson said. “We stayed locked in.”

The focus proved the difference as Florida hit six foul shots down the stretch while Saint Joseph’s missed two shots and committed a pair of turnovers.

“Down the stretch, I thought we showed a tremendous toughness,” Florida coach Mike White said.

The Gators needed it with Blackshear missing almost all of the game. He played three minutes in the first half after picking up two fouls. Then he was thrown out when he was battling underneath and his elbow looked like it hit Saint Joseph’s guard Taylor Funk. Blackshear, who came in averaging 14 points and 12 boards, was called for a flagrant two foul and sent off the court.

Blackshear’s departure seemed to energize the Hawks (2-3), who trailed 43-27 when the Florida star left the court. That’s when St. Joseph’s went on a 29-16 spurt to cut it to three points on Funk’s basket with six minutes left.

But Johnson followed with a basket and Andrew Nembhard made another to extend the lead.

St. Joseph’s had one last charge, slicing things to 64-62 on Ryan Daly’s layup in the final minute. The Hawks had several chances to tighten things, but could not. “We’re not going to go down easy,” Daly said.

Florida will take on Miami here Friday for a spot in the Charleston Classic finals.

The Hawks face Missouri State on Friday.

Johnson also had a game-high 12 rebounds. Nembhard added 16 points.

Florida took control quickly and appeared to make this a runaway as Noah Locke had two 3-pointers and Nembhard also hit one from behind the arc as the Gators went ahead 11-2 less than two minutes in and steadily built its lead.

St. Joseph’s had hit 34 first-half 3s combined its first four games. It made just one of its 14 long-range attempts this time as it fell behind.

Daly led the Hawks with 25 points.

Swider scores 26, No. 17 Villanova routs MTSU 98-69

USA Today Images

Swider scores 26, No. 17 Villanova routs MTSU 98-69

CONWAY, S.C. -- It’s been awhile since No. 17 Villanova shot this well from long range. Cole Swider has never scored like this.

Swider scored a career-high 26 points with six 3-pointers, and the Wildcats routed Middle Tennessee 98-69 on Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Myrtle Beach Invitational.

Collin Gillespie added 16 points and hit four 3s, Justin Moore finished with 15 points and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl had 11 rebounds to help Villanova (3-1) - which never trailed, led by 35 and shot 57% while winning its second straight following a 25-point loss at No. 10 Ohio State.

And yet, another number in the box score caught coach Jay Wright’s eye - Swider’s seven rebounds.

“He’s more than just a shooter,” Wright said.

And the Wildcats have plenty of those. They made 18 3s - one shy of the school record, and their most since they also had 18 in a victory over Kansas at the 2018 Final Four.

“They have elite size with great shooters,” Middle Tennessee coach Nick McDevitt said, “and any short close-out or decent close-out results in three points.”

Eleven of them came during a first-half barrage that pushed the lead well into the 20s. Swider hit his fifth 3 from the corner shortly before the buzzer to put the Wildcats up 53-28 at halftime.

Saddiq Bey then took the lead to 30 with a 3-pointer two minutes into the second half.

Donovan Sims scored 18 points and C.J. Jones had 16 for the Blue Raiders (3-2). Leading scorer Antonio Green, averaging 23.5 points going into the game, finished with four points on 1-of-7 shooting while dealing with foul trouble.

“They’ve got a lot of interchangeable parts, so they were switching just to never let him see space,” McDevitt said.