The Temple Owls led for most of the way in the first game of ESPN's tip-off marathon. Unfortunately they were not on top at the end, as Kent State put together a late rally to knock the Owls off with an 81-77 victory on Monday night.
Regardless of the loss for Temple, it was a great battle between two good programs, and both teams played very well. Here is a look at the lessons learned from Kent State and Temple's Monday night showdown.
1) Balanced Attack: The Owls showed Monday night that they will have a very balanced offensive attack this season. All five starters scored in double figures from the team, which is a much different picture then the offense that was led star guard Khalif Wyatt. This balanced attack will be difficult for other teams to stop, because at any time any player can kill you offensively. Conversely, with such a balanced attack that means every player needs to show up on the offensive end for the Owls to win games.
2) Owls Need Bench Support: Twenty-two of Kent State's 81 points on Monday night came from its bench, which was a huge factor in helping it win the game. On the other side, Temple only managed to have two points off its bench. This simply will not get it done if the Owls want to win games on a consistent basis this season. When three guys off your bench come in and take seven shots over a span of 34 minutes of court time, you need to do more then just get two points. Ultimately, the lack of bench production was a major difference in such a closely contested ballgame.
3) Remember the Name Quenton DeCosey: Obviously, Temple fans are not going to forget the name Quenton DeCosey since he starts for them, but this is more for the rest of the country. DeCosey struggled at times tonight like all players do, but he carried the Owls for a large part of the second half offensively. At 6'5'' he showed the size to score inside and keep possessions alive by crashing the offensive glass, and he showed a sweet stroke and ability to knock down the three-point shot from the perimeter. DeCosey is only a sophomore and looks to have a bright future with the Owls.
4) Both These Teams Could Play in March: Both Kent State and Temple put on an impressive performance on Monday night. Kent State placed fourth in the MAC conference last year and showed it could be good enough this year to challenge the powers in its conference and maybe seize a ticket to the NCAA tournament. As for Temple, the Owls were in the tournament last year, and although they do not have Wyatt on the team anymore they showed with their young balanced attack they may just be good enough to make another run into the tournament once again.