On Wednesday night, Temple senior Will Cummings and the Owls (4-2) are trying to do something they haven’t been able to do since St. Joes’ Hagan Arena opened in 2009 — getting a win in the building.
The Owls are a winless 0-2 in the Hawk’s (3-3) rejuvenated palace, falling in their last meeting 70-69 in the 2012-13 season. Cummings, who leads the Owls with 15.4 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game, is hoping that the third time’s a charm against his rival Big 5 foes.
“In my experience at Temple, we haven’t won at St. Joes so that’s something we’re aiming to do this year,” said Cummings. “This is a big rivalry game for us where we can make a statement in the Big 5. I’m really stressing to the guys how important this game is and most of the time these games are won by who wants it more.”
St. Joes lost three key seniors in the offseason, which should work favorably for the Owls. Guard Langston Galloway (17.7 ppg, 4.5 rpg) along with forwards Ronald Roberts Jr. (14.4 ppg, 7.4 rpg) and Halil Kanacevic (10.8 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 4.5 apg) accounted for the majority of the production last season for the Hawks. Replacing their production on the offensive side of the ball has been a wing duo consisting of DeAndre Bembry (14.7 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 3.2 apg) and Aaron Brown (11.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg).
“Coach [Fran Dunphy] has been preaching team defense at practice this week,” said Cummings. “It’s all about limiting the affect that they [Bembry and Brown] can have on this game, whether defending off the ball or on the ball. We need to deny them the basketball.”
The Owls expect forward Jaylen Bond to be a big part of what they do defensively the rest of the season. In Sunday’s 70-56 win over LIU Brooklyn, Bond notched 11 points and 13 rebounds on 5-of-11 shooting. Cummings expects this kind of play to continue.
“Any time you can get a good game under your belt can change your attitude really fast,” said Cummings. “I think the team has confidence in him now and what he did last game is kind of what we expected from him at the start of the season. I think he’s going to keep thriving and keep improving.”
Wednesday’s game will air at 6:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.