The Big 5, Two Weeks in

December 1st, 2014 by AmyMac | Filed under Basketball, College Sports, Sports.
The NCAA basketball season is fully underway.

The NCAA basketball season is fully underway.

Here’s a look at what’s been going on with the basketball teams from Temple, LaSalle, Saint Joe’s, Penn, and Villanova.

1. Villanova’s Dylan Ennis and JayVaughn Pinkston have already led the 12th-ranked Wildcats to six wins. On Sunday, they breezed past Delaware in a 78-47 win (five Wildcats – Kris Jenkins, Darrun Hilliard, Daniel Ochefu, Dylan Ennis, and Phil Booth – recorded double figures). Not all of Nova’s games have been so simple, though; it took a late comeback last Tuesday to edge past Michigan, 60-55. Coach Jay Wright, who is understandably very happy with his team’s start this season, says, “We have a lot of work to do offensively, and we can do that.” With a tougher schedule approaching, Wright knows that his squad can’t rely on its outstanding defense alone – they’ve allowed an average 56.3 points per game. Luckily, he has a solid frontcourt that will only get better with practice. Villanova leads the Big East with a 6-0 record, and their next game is on Wednesday at 8:30 at LaSalle.

2. LaSalle will go into Wednesday’s game against Villanova with a 4-2 record. Not even Jarrell Wright’s 19 points could move the Explorers past Vanderbilt on Saturday, as LaSalle lost 68-55. While 4-2 is a decent start, coach John Giannini has some issues on his hands. His team is missing easy scoring opportunities by committing turnovers and missing free throws; forget about 3-pointers. Giannini is apparently channeling Andy Reid, and says, “We need to get better.”
To be fair, LaSalle’s other loss this season is to reigning ACC champs and 9th-ranked Virginia. Luckily, the rest of the A-10 conference is off to a similar start this season.

3. Temple’s Mark Williams led the Owls to a 76-67 victory over Penn last Tuesday night. Three others (Will Cummings, Quentin DeCosey, and Josh Brown) also had double-digit games. Granted, Penn is a terrible team; however, Temple succeeded in shaking off their losses to Duke and UNLV. The Owls entered Sunday’s game against LIU Brooklyn with a win against Penn under their belt, and thanks in large part to Quentin DeCosey’s three 3-pointers, the Owls took the game 70-56 in overtime. Starters Josh Brown and Will Cummings, along with DeCosey, have been putting up consistent numbers so far this season. Cummings, a senior, and DeCosey, a junior, are showing the leadership that coach Fran Dunphy needs. Temple absolutely has the ability to hold its own in the American conference this season, and hopefully surpass last year’s 9-22 record. The Owls play at Saint Joe’s on Wednesday at 6:30 pm.

4. Saint Joseph’s has started the season with an even three losses (Fairleigh Dickinson, Gonzaga, and Western Kentucky) and three wins (Drexel, Vermont, and LIU Brooklyn). Sophomore forward DeAndre Bembry is off to a solid start this season, with 14.7 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game. James Demery, a freshman forward, has also started laying the groundwork for a quality rookie year with the Hawks. Coach Phil Martelli knows that, to stand out in the competitive A-10 conference, his team needs to get more aggressive with rebounding. The Hawks will welcome the Temple Owls Wednesday evening at 6:30 pm.

5. The Pennsylvania Quakers are currently in the basement of the Ivy League conference with five straight losses. Saturday night’s loss to Wagner was a close game, but center Darien Nelson-Henry was really the only player to have a game worth mentioning. With 3 field goals, 8 rebounds, and 2 assists, Nelson-Henry makes for a pretty unremarkable high scorer. Penn’s losses to Delaware State and Lafayette were close games, but the Quakers didn’t stand much of a chance against Temple and Rider. Starters Greg Louis, Darnell Foreman, and Matt Howard have combined averages of 6.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game. This could be a very, very long season for this team that is very, very difficult to watch. Navy hosts Penn Wednesday night at 7:00 pm. The Midshipmen aren’t exactly setting the Patriot League on fire with their 2-5 record, so we could possibly see an end to Penn’s winless streak.


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