Current KenPom Ranking: 112 out of 351 (LIU Brooklyn: 277 – down from 268 before previous game)
Time: 5:30 PM – Second game of Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Invitational
Location: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
Meeting History: 4th all-time meeting. Temple leads series 3-0. Last meeting: @ Temple, 80-55, L (1969-70)
Temple Players to Watch:
1. Will Cummings #02 – 6’2″ Guard – Jr. – 17.1 ppg/3.3 rpg/4.4 apg/46.3 FG%/24.2 3FG%/34.0 mpg
2. Dalton Pepper #32 – 6’5″ Guard – Sr. – 16.2 ppg/5.4 rpg/48.7 FG%/35.6 mpg
3. Anthony Lee #03 – 6’9″ Forward – Jr. – 14.9 ppg/9.9 rpg/55.1 FG%/29.1 mpg
LIU Brooklyn will face off against Temple at the Barclays Center in the middle game of the Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Invitational tripleheader.
Temple is coming into this game under .500 at 4-5 and are coming off what they must feel is a terrible loss to Texas Southern at home, losing 90-89. Texas Southern came into that game ranked 237 in the Kenpom rankings and had their center Aaric Murray scored an NCAA Division 1-high 48 points against the Owls.
Temple is playing in their first year in the new American Athletic Conference (AAC) after leaving the Atlantic 10. The Owls have been in the NCAA Tournament the last six seasons, winning at least 21 games each season but could be in jeopardy of missing out this season.
Temple is scoring at a 77.6 points per game clip. They are not a great shooting team. Their effective field goal percentage is 49.6% which is eighth in the AAC and shooting just under 32% from three. They like to play at a good pace, they get 72.5 possessions per 40 minutes. They score 1.05 points per possession so far this season which is 9th in the AAC.
On defense, Temple gives up 76.4 ppg and teams shot 43.3% against them from the field, 6th-best in the AAC. They give up 1.04 ppp. They are a decent rebounding team grabbing over 34 rebounds per game. The Owls do take care of the ball, they only turn the ball over 9.8 times per game which 24th-best in the nation and have a very good assist-to-turnover ration at 1.441 a/to.
The Owls have four players scoring over 14 points/game starting with junior guard Will Cummings who leads them with 17.1 ppg. He has scored between 13 and 22 points in every game so far this season. He is their leading assist-man with 4.4 apg. He is also their second-best free throw shooter at 82.1%.
Next is senior guard Dalton Pepper who is scoring 16.2 ppg. He leads the Owls in minutes, free throw shooting, three-pointer shooting, steals and effective field goal percentage. He has gone for 20 or more points three times this season with a season-high 24 points against UAB in a win.
Anthony Lee is a junior forward who is averaging near a double-double in points and rebounds (14.9 ppg/9.9 rpg). Lee has five double-double this season and can do damage inside as his 55% field goal shooting attests. Lee though is prone to fouls. He has fouled out once so far and has collected four fouls in another five games.
The final double-digit scorer for Temple is 6’5″ guard Quenton DeCosey. He is averaging 14.2 ppg. He also has reach double figures in every game he has played this season. He is coming off a career-high 19 points against Texas Southern.
Oddly, Temple head coach Fran Dunphy has only ten players on his roster with just one senior in Dalton Pepper. He does play all ten guys as every player plays at least ten minutes per game.
LIU Brooklyn comes into this game on a two-game winning streak after beating Lamar on a last-second Gerrell Martin three. This game marks LIU’s second visit to the Barclays Center this season as they beat Saint Peter’s in the first game at the Barclays in the season opener.
LIU now have five players scoring over 11 ppg led now by E.J. Reed (12.2 ppg) by just a tenth of a point over Gilbert Parga (12.1 ppg). Landon Atterberry, LIU’s most consistent player this season, is averaging 12 ppg while Jason Brickman has raised his scoring average up 11.7 ppg with five straight double digits scoring performances. Gerrell Martin is the final double digit scorer with 11.2 ppg. Martin oddly enough is shooting better from three (41.2%) than from inside the arc (36.4%).
Jason Brickman has been on a tear in his last five game averaging 15.4 ppg and 10.6 apg. He now has six double-doubles this season which is a new career high. His 10.1 apg is still tops in the nation. He also leads the nation in assist rate (55.0 %) and lowest-fouled called per 40 minutes (0.2). His assist-to-turnover ratio of 3.3:1 is one of the best ratios for a point guard in the nation.
The Blackbirds are becoming a MASH unit this season with all the injuries they have suffered. Here is the list of lost games so far: Nura Zanna: 10 (wrist-out for season), Julian Boyd: 10 (torn ACL-more on him below), Joel Hernandez: 10 (hip-no time table for his return), Gilbert Parga: 3 (elbow & sprained achilles/day-to-day), Chris Carter: 1 (broken foot-out 6 weeks). That is a total of 34 games lost to injury for LIU Brooklyn head coach Jack Perri. He played with just eight scholarship players on the win against Lamar on Wednesday.
Gilbert Parga is expected to miss his second straight game with his strained achilles he suffered vs NJIT on December 12. Good news for LIU is sixth-year Julian Boyd has been cleared to participate in limited practice as he comes back from his two ACL tears over the course of the past year. He is still on pace to make his return to the court in January during NEC play. In the meantime, LIU may have to play extra short-handed.
It is a repeated theme almost every game but LIU will have to at some point, get a team to have a bad shooting game and force them to score under 0.99 ppp. Every team against LIU has scored that much and above, sometimes way above. Jack Perri has addressed it to his team that they need to improve on the defensive end and on the glass. They were improving on the glass until they had a setback against Lamar giving up 10 more rebounds to them and also giving up 14 offensive rebounds to a team that wasn’t a great offensive rebounding team. Temple is a much better rebounding and overall team and if LIU wants to sneak out of the Barclays Center with a win, they will need to rebound, stay out of foul trouble and get some stops on defense, the latter has been proven to be the most challenging this season.
KenPom Score Projection: 86-78 Temple (LIU Win Probability: 24%)
Next up for the Blackbirds:
The Blackbirds will take a week off for the Christmas holiday before heading down to Texas for a start of two-game Texas road trip which begins at Sam Houston State on Saturday, December 28