Monday, November 14, 2011

Sometimes the first one is the hardest....

Temple opened up their season tonight against Penn at the Palestra.  Opening up with a Big 5 game on the road, when the other team has played two games is tough.  Not to mention when you are missing two potential starters.  Scootie Randall is going to be out until at least mid December with offseason knee surgery and Khalif Wyatt was sitting out a one game suspension.  Temple played only seven players but came away with a hard fought 73-67 victory in overtime.

Now I only listened to the game on the radio, didn't get to see it, but it seemed like the usual first game jitters.  A lot of one on one moves, which lead to a lot of turnovers.  A lot of missed free throws.  Some poor shot selection.  Things that can be corrected, and will be corrected.  A lot of times early in the season individuals try to make individual moves.  This happens because in the offseason you play a lot of pickup ball and you get to be good at certain moves.  You know you can score and you want to do it in a game.  Well, in a game when the other team is trying their ass off to stop you from scoring, putting the ball in the basket becomes a little harder.  That seemed to be what was happening to the Owls.  Just not totally in game speed form. 

A lot of people are going to look at this game and think, uh oh, maybe the Owls won't be as good as we thought.  Nonsense.  They'll be fine.  Missing two players hurts.  But having a tough game like this right off the bat is going to help them out in the long run.  I'm not in the locker room, so i don't know if they were looking past this game, but when you are heavily favored and have a plane waiting for you to go to Puerto Rico the next day, I could definitely see a little disinterest.  Hopefully that sets their mind straight for a good tourney down there.

Some players played big parts tonight also that will help as the season goes along.  TJ Dileo played big minutes.  Anthony Lee got some action in for the first time as an Owl.  Aaron Brown is going to play a big part this season and he'll just keep growing as time goes on.  The best thing though was the fact the two team leaders stepped it up.  Both senior guards, Moore and Fernandez, stepped up and carried this team to the win.  Moore had a pretty awful game by his standards, but hit a key three and played some tough D down the stretch.  Juan took the game over when it seemed like it was about to slip through their hands.  It's great to see since early last year he was very reluctant to do that.  Maybe the tourney last year has him sporting some confidence.  Didn't want to leave out Rhalir and Eric.  They both had ten boards and will need to control the glass like that all year.  A little thin in the frontcourt right now.

Overall, a very nervous game for the squad.  I know the fans were sweating it, I sure the heck was.  But I just keep telling people, remember, you play 40 minutes for a reason, or in this case 45.  You play 30 games.  You don't judge a team after one half, or after one game.  This team will continue to grow and gel as one.  I have big hopes for this team this season.  The first Big Five game on the road, did nothing to change those views.  Good win Owls.  Have a safe trip to Puerto Rico.



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