Temple matches up with UMass Wednesday night

Matt Leon
December 11, 2018 - 1:14 pm
Dec 5, 2018; Villanova, PA, USA; Temple Owls guard Nate Pierre-Louis (15) dribbles past Villanova Wildcats forward Eric Paschall (4) during the second half at Finneran Pavilion.

Derik Hamilton/USA TODAY Sports

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Temple Owls will be home on Wednesday night as the UMass Minutemen pay the Liacouras Center a visit.

The Owls are off to a fine 7-2 start this season, but they are coming off a loss as they dropped a Big 5 battle to Villanova at the Pavilion on Wednesday night. The Owls actually led that game by four with 6:42 left, but the Wildcats finished on a 26-12 run to win, 69-59.

"We did have our chances," Temple head coach Fran Dunphy said. "We didn't do a great job the last five minutes or so. We gave up some offensive rebounds, which was really damaging to our cause. I think the Villanova guys turned up the screws a little bit as well and we didn't react offensively like we needed to."

Sophomore guard Nate Pierre-Louis led the Owls in defeat against Villanova with a season high 19 points. He is averaging 12.1 points and 6.9 rebounds a game in this his first season as a starter.

"He works as hard as anybody we have," Dunphy said. "He's a hard-playing guy. He lends a lot of opportunity for us to rebound from the guard spot, which is terrific for us and he can score the ball in a lot of different ways. So we're grateful for Nate and the energy that he brings."

UMass is 6-4 heading into Wednesday night, and the Minutemen are coming off an impressive win at Providence on Friday night, a game where they rallied from a 20-point first-half deficit. Junior guard Luwane Pipkins scored the winning basket in the final seconds for UMass — the latest highlight in a season where he has averaged 20.5 points and 6.4 assists per game.

"As good a basketball player as (Pipkins) is, the competitive nature that he has really sets him apart as a terrific college basketball player," Dunphy said. "He obviously can do everything you need him to do to make plays, to make shots, to be a great member of his team, but he's just so competitive. He wants his team to win and that's exemplified in every possession that he's out there."

Wednesday night's game will get underway at 7 p.m.

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