Bowling Green-Temple Preview

Outstanding defensive play has helped put Temple in the Top 25

for the first time in more than eight years. That doesn’t bode well

for Bowling Green and its struggling offense.

Following two impressive victories over Big East teams, the

21st-ranked Owls look to win their sixth straight as they host the

Falcons on Monday night.

Temple (9-2) has had eight days off since defeating previously

unbeaten Seton Hall 71-65 on Dec. 19, six days after upsetting

then-No. 3 Villanova 75-65. The Owls have won five straight since a

55-48 loss to St. John’s on Nov. 28, earning a spot in the Top 25

for the first time since it was ranked 25th in the final week of

November 2001.

Defense has keyed Temple’s impressive start. The Owls are ranked

third nationally in scoring defense, holding opponents to 55.1

points per game.

“We have guys who take pride in guarding and playing defense,”

said coach Fran Dunphy, whose team limited the high-scoring Pirates

without a field goal over the final 5:07. “I’m very pleased with

our defense.”

The Owls held the Pirates to a season-low 34.9 percent from the

field and became just the second team this season to keep them

below 80 points. Seton Hall entered that contest averaging 90.8

points and was coming off a school-record 134-point performance

against VMI.

“I’m very excited to be where we are right now,” Dunphy

said.

Temple has limited teams to 37.3 percent from the field and 23.9

percent from 3-point range, ranking second in country in that

category.

Bowling Green (5-4) has shot 29.9 percent (20 of 67) from beyond

the arc in the last five games, part of the reason it’s averaging

just 63.7 points for the season.

The Falcons do not have one player averaging more than 10.3

points.

Ryan Brooks leads Temple with 15.2 per game and has topped 20 in

two straight, including a career-high 24 against Seton Hall.

The senior is complemented in the backcourt by sophomore Juan

Fernandez, who had 21 points versus the Pirates following a

career-best 33-point effort against Villanova. Fernandez is 10 for

15 (66.7 percent) from 3-point range over his last three games.

Bowling Green, meanwhile, had one of its highest-scoring games

of the season in its last contest but had a four-game winning

streak snapped with a 73-69 loss at Detroit on Dec. 19.

The Falcons got an unexpected boost from 5-foot-6 freshman

Jordon Crawford, who had a career-best 15 points off the bench. He

had two points or none in four straight games since he had 13 in a

90-83 overtime loss to Milwaukee on Nov. 28, his only other

double-digit scoring game.

Bowling Green is in desperate need of more scoring from its

backcourt. Starting guards Joe Jakubowski and Dee Brown have

combined to shoot 40.7 percent.

Temple is 2-0 against Bowling Green, winning the last matchup

77-55 on the road Nov. 24, 2007.