By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Temple Owls will look to extend their winning streak to four straight games on Saturday as they host the Texas Longhorns at the Center.
The Owls are coming off their second Big 5 victory in as many tries on Wednesday night as they outlasted St. Joe’s, 77-69, at the Liacouras Center.
“It was a good win because I really like St. Joe’s team,” Temple head coach Fran Dunphy tells KYW Newsradio. “I think they are really balanced, they have a good program. I think (head coach) Phil (Martelli) does a great job with them. We were really excited by our win. It was tie score with a couple of minutes left and things just seemed to go our way. We made a couple of good plays and some foul shots down the stretch. Anytime you can win those close ones, it means a lot to your team.”
Earlier in the season, the Owls had a couple of games where they weren’t able to make plays late in close games and ended up on the losing end. Dunphy says finding ways to win is part of the maturation process for his team.
“I think really there is a growth that goes on with groups,” Dunphy says. “Sometimes you’re just not ready to take that next step. I thought Will Cummings’s shot late in the Georgia game (gave the Owls an 83-81 win during the Charleston Classic) really put a different attitude on our guys and understanding of how much each possession is critical during the course of the game. Not just late, there were other plays that we needed to make during the game that would have separated us, but it’s just in the process.”
Cummings is Temple’s leading scorer, he is pouring in 17.9 points a game.
Texas is 7-1 this season, their one loss came at the hands of BYU. Last time out, they beat Vanderbilt at home on Monday.
“They just have a really balanced team,” Dunphy says. “They have balanced scoring, they’ve got good size, they have good guard play. It’s just a really good team. And it’s a really good basketball program. (Head coach) Rick Barnes has done an unbelievable job over all these years.”
The Longhorns have five players scoring at least 8.8 points a game, led by junior forward Jonathan Holmes and his 12.7 ppg.
Temple and Texas haven’t met since December of 2011 when Texas picked up a 12-point win. This will be the first time the teams will meet in Philadelphia since December of 1939. The Owls won that game at Convention Hall by ten.
Saturday’s game will tip-off at noon.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.