By Matt Leon

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Owls got a lot of good news on Saturday.  First they beat Maryland 73-60 at the Palestra to improve to 13-5.  Secondly, they got Michael Eric back, as he returned to game action for the first time in two months after being sidelined by a patella injury to his right knee.

Now Eric lost a significant portion of last season to a patella injury on that same knee, and he played seven minutes off the bench in his return to action on Saturday.  Head coach Fran Dunphy  was happy to see the 6-11 forward/center back on the court.

Listen to Matt Leon’s interview with Head Coach Fran Dunphy in this CBS Phill Sports Podcast:

“Well, first of all, I thought the fan reaction was absolutely terrific, I was so happy for Mike.  I think everybody understands his story and understands how difficult this has been for him.  So I think they really gave him a great deal of energy as he went that game.  We were thrilled to just get him back for those seven minutes and I think what you hope for is that seven turns into twelve, turns into twenty and then we’ll be off and running with Mike playing as many minutes as he can.”

Dunphy talks about Eric getting back up to speed.

“While you can be on an exercise bike and do all those cardio-vascular things you can, nothing replaces that running up and down the court – especially in a game situation, where it’s even more stressful.  I thought he came out of (Saturday) okay, he was not sore at all afterwards.  We’ll push him a little bit more today at practice and certainly try to get him more minutes on Wednesday.”

On Wednesday, the Owls will visit the Charlotte 49ers as they return to Atlantic 10 action.  Dunphy says this is a tough trip for his team.

“We haven’t been overly successful going down there recently and playing at Charlotte.  I’m sure they are going to be more than ready.  They have a solid group, I think (Head Coach) Alan Major has done a terrific job of putting them together.  They have improved greatly since last year.”

The 49ers bring a 10-8 record into this game.  They are 2-3 in the Atlantic 10 and coming off a loss at George Washington on Saturday.

Temple and Charlotte will tip-off at 7:30pm on Wednesday night down in North Carolina.

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