By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Temple Owls are on a roll. Saturday’s blowout win over St. Joe’s was their fourth straight victory (see game story), and it improved Temple to 15-5 on the season.
“It was the best perimeter defense we’ve played this year,” Temple head coach Fran Dunphy tells KYW Newsradio. “I was happy for our guards — I thought they really bought in and understood how important this game was and how difficult these guys (St. Joe’s) are to guard. They did a good job at that. Then Juan Fernandez [photo above] and Ramone Moore really got us off early because they made shots.”
The Owls also got 11 points in 17 minutes off the bench from forward Michael Eric, who continues to round into form after a patella injury.
“He still has a ways to go, just in terms of getting over the rust factor. But I think each game that he plays, each practice that he’s in, is going to make him a little bit more nimble and ready to go,” says Dunphy.
Hear Matt Leon’s full interview with Coach Fran Dunphy in this CBS Philly SportsPod…
Dunphy says Eric’s return has also been big for his teammates.
“They really love Mike as a person, and he’s their teammate and they are happy to see him back.”
Now the Owls are focusing on Fordham, who will visit the Liacouras Center on Wednesday night. The Rams are just 9-11, but coming off a win over George Washington. And Dunphy says they are tough:
“We haven’t played well against (junior forward) Chris Gaston the last three times we’ve played him, he’s a real good player. The kid (sophomore guard Branden) Frazier is making plays and making shots and helping his team greatly. So they are going to come in here looking to knock off the Owls, and we better be ready.”
Gaston leads the Rams in scoring, 15.7 points per game, and rebounding, 10.3 per contest.
Temple and Fordham will tip off Wednesday night at 7:00pm.