NCAA

Temple without O-line anchor Kyle Friend 'for a while'

usa-kyle-friend-temple.jpg

Temple without O-line anchor Kyle Friend 'for a while'

Temple center Kyle Friend, who didn't practice Tuesday, will not play Friday night against the 1-7 SMU Mustangs in Dallas.

Friend was seen walking around with a noticeable limp and a knee brace during practice. Head coach Matt Rhule said Friend will be "out for a while."

"That's a significant injury for us," Rhule said. "Brendan McGowan got in the game (Saturday). He played well. He's got 13 starts in his career. We're very confident in McGowan going in."

On a 3rd-and-2 during the Owls' first series of Saturday night's 24-20 loss to No. 8 Notre Dame, Friend was slow to get up after running back Jahad Thomas ran for no gain.

The senior was able to walk off the field and came back out for the next series. Friend finished the game for No. 23 Temple (7-1) despite his coach's attempts to take him out.

"Kyle is absolutely amazing," Rhule said. "I said, 'Hey, you can't go?' And he just kept playing, kept saying, 'It's not that bad. And then you find out (Tuesday) it's an injury for a while."

For Friend, his streak of 41 straight starts, which was the longest on the team, and 43 consecutive games played will be snapped Friday night.

Rhule did not disclose Friend's injury, but did say it's likely he'll be out a couple of games.

"We don't really know how long because each guy heals differently," Rhule said. "But Kyle's toughness, his passion, it's inspiring. He was in here last night.

"The coaches, we draw up every run and every pass. We're here really late and he came in (Monday) night. He just wants to be a part of the team.

"He actually drew up all the protections for me, which was nice," Rhule continued. "I got a little break last night. But that's just the kind of guy he is. He was out here coaching today. He's special."

Quarterback P.J. Walker called Friend's absence a "big loss" for Temple. Friend anchors the offensive line, but Walker is confident McGowan will do an adequate job filling in.

McGowan, a redshirt junior, is 6-foot-4, 300 pounds. He started at right guard last season before moving over to left guard in Week 9. He missed the final two games because of an injury.

Still, does not having Friend make Walker nervous?

"See, that's my thing," Walker said. "Last year or the year before, I would be a lot more nervous, but me knowing I can pick up protections and do things like that, I'll be fine."

More banged-up Owls
Thomas, who injured his ribs in the fourth quarter Saturday night, is questionable for Friday's game against SMU.

After the Notre Dame game, Thomas said he wasn't 100 percent but also pointed out that no one is at this point of the season.

How's he feeling three days later?

"A little better, but still banged up," Thomas said. "Trying to get my body back as healthy as I can. I took a little shot falling on the ball and then after the touchdown I fell on it a little bit.

"It's bothering me a little bit, but I'm getting treatment. Just trying to get my body back as close to 100 percent as possible to be able to go out there and play Friday night."

Defensive end Nate D. Smith, wide receiver Ventell Bryant, cornerback Tavon Young and offensive lineman Dion Dawkins are all questionable for the SMU game.

"We're not sure if they'll be able to play on Friday night or not," Rhule said. "We're getting a number of other guys ready. We have a lot of depth at a lot of those positions."

Freshman tight end Kip Patton, who has 10 catches for 160 yards this season, will not travel with the team to Dallas and is out Friday night because of academic and disciplinary reasons.

"Nothing serious," Rhule said. "Just has a hard time staying awake right now. We have a standard set and he has not met it."

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

ap-sixers-billy-lange.jpg
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

ua-cole-swider.jpg
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.