One Philly College Basketball Team Is Still Playing
Quenton DeCosey got a pretty good look.
Trailing Miami by three in the closing seconds, Temple passed the ball around the perimeter looking for a good shot. DeCosey fired off a shot at the buzzer. It clanked off the back iron.
That’s how the season ended for the Temple men’s basketball team, which finished 26-11. It’s a pretty good turnaround — even though the team did not make the NCAA tournament — considering last year’s team finished 9-22. The 26 wins is the most for Temple since 2011, when it also won 26.
It’s fitting Temple’s season ended on a missed three-pointer, since the Owls were one of the worst three-point shooting teams in the country — 314th in the country (30.4 percent). Temple’s 26 wins came on the strength of its defense this season; if the team can improve offensively next year, the Owls won’t give the NCAA selection committee a reason to snub them.
The Owls do lose Will Cummings to graduation. “Overall, it’s just been a great experience,” he said after last night’s game, played at Madison Square Garden. “If I could do it all over again, I would make [the] same decision. I wouldn’t change anything. It’s been a great ride.”
But if you like Philly basketball and aren’t ready to throw in the towel, don’t fret: The Temple women’s team is still playing in the Women’s NIT. The Owls were just 16-16 after the regular season, but have won four straight to make it to the semifinals. They play at West Virginia, who beat Villanova in the other quarterfinal, tonight at 7 p.m. (UCLA — which still has a losing record — and Michigan meet in the other semifinal.)
Temple, coached by Tonya Cardoza, has five players who average double figures: Alliya Butts, Erica Covile, Feyonda Fitzgerald, Tyonna Williams and Tanaya Atkinson. Fitzgerald has been the leader in the NIT, averaging 15 points a game in the four contests.
West Virginia will stream tonight’s WNIT semifinal free.
Follow @dhm on Twitter.