Heading into tonight's game I really thought that Richmond was a threat to come to the Liacouras Center and knock off the Owls. Then the two teams played and Temple won by 20, 73-53. Here are some thoughts and opinions on tonight's game.
- The big news is not the fact that the Owls are now sitting pretty in second place, it is that junior Micheal Eric will miss the rest of the season due to a cracked right patella that he suffered in practice on Tuesday. Eric averaged 7.1 points per game and was second on the team in rebounding (5.9) and blocks (1.6). Not having him for the rest of the way is going to be a problem for the Owls as they are now extremely thin in the size department.
- Rahlir Jefferson, whether he is ready or not, will be looked to step into the starting lineup. The sophomore forward did a good job tonight as he scored four points, grabbed seven rebounds and blocked two shots in 39 minutes of action. While his offensive game is still a work in progress, I feel that Jefferson is second only to Lavoy Allen when it comes to defense. His long wingspan more than makes up for the fact that he is an undersized four at 6-6. As long as he plays within himself he should be fine but heaven forbid if he gets into foul trouble as Temple would REALLY have to run out a small lineup.
- Juan Fernandez had his best shooting game of the season as he went 2 for 3 from beyond the arc and 9 of 10 overall from the field for 20 points. Even though he is still wearing a knee brace I think it is evident that he is finally healthy again. He also added three rebounds, two assists and a steal in 30 minutes of work. It looked like he was not going to be a factor in the first half as he picked up two quick fouls but Fran Dunphy subbed him in and out for offense and defense as often as he could. Dunphy's calculated gamble worked out as Fernandez hit his first seven shots of the game and demonstrated his trademark mid-range game that had been missing in recent months.
- Ramone Moore had another fantastic night as he scored 24 points on 10 of 15 shooting. This was the junior guard's third straight game with 20+ points and fifth such game overall. He knocked down 4 of his 5 three-pointers and generally seemed to come through with a big shot whenever Temple needed it.
- Richmond came into the game second in the conference in both scoring defense (62.1 points per contest) and field goal percentage defense (.402). The Owls offensive performance tonight will definitely inflate those metrics as they scored 73 points on 55.6 percent (30-54) shooting. The Owls connected on 50 percent (7 of 14) of their three-point attempts, roughly 17 percentage points above their season average of 33.4 percent.
- On the flip side, Richmond, the conference's leading three-point shooting team at 41.1 percent hit on just 33.3 percent (6 of 18) of their shots from distance. Justin Harper, one of the nation's premier jump shooters, went 0 for 5 from deep and 6 of 17 overall. The Owls really flexed their defensive muscles tonight.
- Lavoy Allen moved into second place on Temple's all-time rebounding list as his seven boards pushes his grand total to 1,033. He also scored eight points and rejected a game-high three shots. There is an outside chance that Allen can break the record at home with the shorthanded Hawks coming to the Liacouras Center on Sunday afternoon. That would certainly add to the festivities surrounding the game as Rick Brunson, Eddie Jones and Aaron McKie will be honored at half time to celebrate their inductions into the Temple Hall of Fame.