The last time the Temple basketball team started its season 5-0, it eventually ran the streak to 14…
On Wednesday, the Owls had all the answers, traveling to Buffalo for a 54-39 victory in which McCrea was held to 14 points — half of the 28 he dropped at Temple last year.
The biggest difference was sophomore center Anthony Lee, who was in foul trouble last year and didn't hit a basket until draining the game-winner in the final second of overtime. This year, the 6-9 Lee contained McCrea and added a team-high 10 points of his own, while also grabbing seven rebounds.
"My focus with McCrea was make it tough on him, because last year I had a tough time playing him for the first time," said Lee. "I did a lot of studying. I tried fronting him, did a good job on passes inside and the guards helped me out filling in those spots they tried to fit the pass in."
Lee's fellow sophomore, Will Cummings, had his best day as an Owl. Taking a back seat in the first few games to senior T.J. Dileo, Cummings was on the court for 34 minutes Wednesday, filling up the stat sheet with nine points, two assists, three steals, six rebounds.
"We're trying to win the game," said Cummings. "Basically all that doesn't matter if we lose the game. But we're 4-0, we're in a rhythm and looking forward to next game (Saturday at home against Wagner)."
Temple coach Fran Dunphy said he was pleased with the progression of his starting point guard.
"He made two baskets that stemmed the tide, stepped up and made some hard shots," said Dunphy. "When (Khalif) Wyatt went out (with a cut on his arm), we chose him to shoot foul shots. He was pretty tough tonight. He played a really good game, though he turned it over a few too many times (three).''
Dunphy said Wyatt would be fine after having to leave the game down the stretch.
"Apparently he needed stitches in his arm," said Dunphy. "I've never seen stitches needed that late in the game for your arm. It was a little misunderstanding, but I have great faith in our doctors and trainers. I'd rather have him available, but he was not."
Asked about giving up about 50 points fewer to the same team a year later — and scoring 35 less — Dunphy noted it was just a different style game.
"It was a grind it out game and we prevailed," said Dunphy. "Every game takes on a different personality. We were in the 80s last year in overtime, and it wasn't going to be like that tonight."
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