GREENVILLE, N.C. -
Temple men's basketball makes its first trip to new American Athletic Conference member East Carolina Thursday (7:00 pm/ESPNU/1210 AM WPHT) in a key game for positioning in the conference standings.
The Owls (20-9/11-5 American) are tied with Cincinnati (20-9/11-5) for third place in the league with two games remaining. The Pirates (13-16/6-10) have a one-game lead over Tulane for seventh place.
Senior guard Will Cummings
(13.8 ppg/4.2 apg), who has scored in double figures in 10 straight games, leads the Owls in scoring and assists while topping the conference in steals (2.0 spg). Two other guards, junior Quenton DeCosey
(12.2 ppg) and senior Jesse Morgan
(11.9 ppg), also average double figures for head coach Fran Dunphy
Junior Jaylen Bond
(8.4 ppg, 8.5 rpg) leads the conference in rebounding and has been a key factor in the turnaround on the defensive end. The Owls have held opponents to 59.9 ppg, which is 18.2 ppg better than last season to rank first nationally in terms of differential from this season to last season.
Junior center Devontae Watson
(2.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg) rounds out the starting five.
Sophomore guard Josh Brown
(6.3 ppg) and freshman forward Obi Enechionyia
(4.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg) lead a deep Owl bench that includes redshirt sophomore forward Daniel Dingle
(4.1 ppg), sophomore forward Mark Williams
(3.8 ppg) and junior Devin Coleman
East Carolina, which lost six of seven to start conference play, has won five of its last nine league games. The Pirates are very formidable at home, owning an 11-4 record at Minges Coliseum. ECU defeated Cincinnati and Memphis at home and lost to league-leader Tulsa by just two points.
Much like Temple, the Pirates' three leading scorers are very close in scoring average. Freshman guard B.J. Tyson currently leads with 12.8 ppg, followed by junior guard Terry Whisnant at 12.6 ppg and sophomore guard Caleb White at 12.2 ppg.
In Temple's 66-53 win vs. East Carolina at the Liacouras Center (Feb. 14), the Owls posted 49 rebounds to the Pirates' 26. That rebound margin of 23 was the most for the Owls in five years, since a +23 rebound performance at La Salle on Feb. 28, 2010.Game Notes
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