By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Temple Owls will try to shake off back-to-back losses on Thursday night when they welcome South Florida to the Liacouras Center for an American Athletic Conference game.
The Owls are 5-7 on the season (0-2 in the AAC) and they are also dealing with injuries. The torn meniscus suffered by sophomore Daniel Dingle has left the Owls with just nine players on the roster. Then in Saturday’s loss to Central Florida, freshman forward Mark Williams suffered an ankle injury.
“We’re approaching a day-to-day status [for Williams],” Temple head coach Fran Dunphy tells KYW Newsradio. “I don’t know that he’ll be ready on Thursday, but hopefully after that he’ll be able to give us some minutes and get into a game. I think the swelling has gone down, I think we’re in decent shape here, the doctors and the trainers are pleased with his progress after Saturday.”
Having just eight healthy players can make life difficult, but Dunphy says they have to learn to deal with it.
“We have a couple of guys sitting out as transfers, so the practice pieces are taken care of,” Dunphy says. “The game pieces, we have to manage that very carefully, obviously, making substitutions and playing guys at different positions and those kinds of things.”
South Florida is 9-6 on the season, although they have dropped four of five coming into this game. They are led by senior Victor Rudd. The 6’9″ forward is tops on the team in scoring (15.7) and rebounding (7.1).
“He’s really a very good player and hard to stop,” Dunphy says. “Their point guard Anthony Collins has been hurt and I don’t know if he’s going to be able to play [Thursday] night or not. So we’ll see how that goes. But they just have a real solid team, [head coach] Stan [Heath] does a really nice job of coaching. So we’ve got our hands full. We’ve got our own issues to deal with and now we’re playing against a team that’s a pretty accomplished team.”
This will be just the second all-time meeting between these two programs. The first came in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. The Owls lost that second-round match-up to the Bulls, 58-44.
Thursday’s game tips off at 7:00pm.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.