Will Cummings
Joseph V. Labolito/Temple University

Men's Basketball

Men's Basketball a Top Seed in NIT; Owls Will Face Bucknell at Home Wednesday

PHILADELPHIA – Temple has been announced as a top seed in the 2015 National Invitation Tournament (NIT), and will face eighth-seeded Bucknell (19-14) at home on Wednesday, March 18. The game will tip-off at 7:00 p.m. and be televised by ESPN3. It will also be broadcast by 1210 AM WPHT.
 
The Owls are making their 18th NIT appearance and first since 2006. Temple (23-10) is under the direction of American Athletic Conference Coach of the Year Fran Dunphy, who is making his NIT coaching debut. Dunphy became the 24th active Division I coach to reach the 500-win mark in his career on March 13 when the Owls defeated Memphis 80-75 in the American Athletic Conference Championship quarterfinals.

Temple is a two-time NIT Champion, winning in 1938 and 1969. The Owls also have two third-place finishes, the first in 1957 and more recently in 2002. Temple made five consecutive appearances from 2002-2006, losing in the first round in the last three of those seasons. The Owls' overall NIT record is 20-15. 

Temple, led by senior and American Conference First Team selection Will Cummings, enters the tournament winners of 11 out of its last 14 contests.

Cummings leads the team and ranks fifth in The American in scoring with a 14.2 ppg average while ranking fourth in assists (4.3 apg) and first in steals (2.0 spg). Cummings, who has scored in double figures in 14 consecutive games, also ranks fifth in the league in free throw percentage (.791) and third in assist/turnover ratio (2.1).

Junior Quenton DeCosey, who scored 14 points in each of the Owls' conference tournament games, ranks second on the team and 12th in The American with 12.4 ppg. Close behind is senior Jesse Morgan at 11.8 ppg, with Morgan averaging 2.7 made three-pointers per game.

Leading the team and the league in rebounding is junior forward Jaylen Bond (8.0 rpg), who also ranks seventh in the league with 1.4 steals per game and was named American Athletic Conference Honorable Mention. Rounding out the starting five is junior Devontae Watson who averages a block per game to rank 13th in the conference.

Bucknell completed the regular season with a record of 19-14 and won the Patriot League regular season title. The Bison lost to Lafayette in the Patriot League Championship semifinals, 80-74. Bucknell's regular season title was its fourth in five years. Junior guard Chris Hass leads the team with 16.0 ppg and was named First Team All-Patriot League.
 
Temple leads Bucknell 29-5 in the all-time series between the teams, but they have not faced each other since the 1981-82 season when both were members of the now-defunct East Coast Conference. The Owls and the Bison have never played against each other in a postseason contest.

The winner of Wednesday's game will advance to face the winner of a Tuesday night game between fifth-seeded George Washington and fourth-seeded Pittsburgh.

2015 NIT Bracket

 
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