Defense powers Temple to 75-57 win against Morgan State
Temple held a lead for more than 35 minutes against Morgan State Saturday at the Liacouras Center, but the Owls waited until late in the game to put a lesser opponent away.
The Owls were the better team in a 75-57 win against the Bears, who won just nine games last season. But Temple never held a lead greater than 12 points until there were 6 minutes, 47 seconds left in the contest. A second consecutive poor shooting night from the Owls, who went 24-65 from the floor, is to blame for that.
But just like their first win against Drexel, the Owls’ defense led them again Saturday.
Temple recorded 14 steals and scored 27 points off 19 Morgan State turnovers to improve to 2-0 under first-year head coach Aaron McKie.
“We hang our hat on our defense,” McKie said. “We are going to come in on a nightly basis and try to win games from the defensive side of the ball.”
Six different Temple players recorded a steal, including junior guard Nate Pierre-Louis, who led the way with six. Senior guard Alani Moore was second on the team with three steals, which tied a career high.
“It’s Coach McKie preaching activity on defense,” senior guard Quinton Rose said. “We are active with our hands and not fouling, get our hands in the passing lanes and they will give us the ball. That’s what happened tonight. We have been working on it all summer and it’s become contagious to our team.”
Pierre-Louis also led the Owls with 19 points, 11 rebounds and five assists, becoming the first Owl to record a double-double in three straight games since Jaylen Bond did so in 2015.
Rose finished right behind Pierre-Louis with 16 points and six rebounds. Rose has 30 points through two games on 9 of 26 shooting, but McKie would like for Rose to become more efficient on offense.
Both teams struggled shooting the ball. The Bears, however, made shots at a slightly higher clip than Temple, going 20-for-52 on the day. Temple was aggressive on offense, generating 32 free throw attempts to Morgan State’s 16.
The Owls half-court offense was “good, but wasn’t great” because of the inability to make shots from the floor, McKie said.
“[Shooting] is something they have to get into the gym and work on,” McKie added. “I thought we had some good looks, and we’ll make those shots… I want our guys to stay aggressive. I want them if they have open shots to take them with confidence.”
Morgan State alternated between a 2-3 zone, 1-3-1 zone and traditional man defenses throughout the game. The Bears also showed a full-court press at different times, but the Owls were prepared for it, Rose said.
Pierre-Louis and junior forward De’Vondre Perry helped the Owls bury Morgan State by scoring 16 of Temple’s 22 points in the final 10 minutes. Perry finished the game with 12 points on 4 of 6 shooting in 20 minutes off the bench.
Temple will have a full week until its next game, a Big Five contest at La Salle on Nov. 16 at 2 p.m.