Fran Dunphy

Balanced effort in win over Big 5 rival La Salle bodes well for Temple

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Fran Dunphy’s Temple Owls have been a tough team to figure out for much of the season. Capable of beating almost any team in the country, as evidenced by their win over then-No. 3 Syracuse back in December, the Owls have also lost to Duquesne.

With a share of the Big 5 title on the line Thursday night “good Temple” showed up, as the Owls took care of La Salle by the final score of 82-74 in a game that wasn’t as close as the final margin would indicate.

The best thing about the victory for Temple with an eye towards the Atlantic 10 and NCAA tournaments (should they be selected for the latter): the victory didn’t require a Herculean effort from Khalif Wyatt.

Wyatt, one of the best guards in the Atlantic 10, finished with 17 points, five rebounds and four assists but he also turned the ball over six times. Those miscues didn’t hurt Temple however, thanks to the play of Wyatt’s teammates.

Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson played the best game of his college career, establishing career highs in both points (23) and rebounds (18) while also dishing out five assists. And with Scootie Randall (15 points, ten rebounds) and Anthony Lee (ten points) also reaching double figures, Temple (25-of-43 on two-point shots) had more than enough options on the offensive end.

In each of Temple’s five games prior to Thursday Wyatt scored at least 20 points, with Temple going 3-2 and all five contests being decided by one-point margins. Not all of those games featured Wyatt carrying Temple with little help offensively, but getting consistent offense from the supporting cast has been an issue.

If Hollis-Jefferson and Randall, both of whom made La Salle pay for going small after the move initially got the Explorers back into a game they trailed by 19 at one point, can build on their performances tonight Temple will be a better team going forward.

Wyatt’s going to get his points but for Temple to be at their best the scoring load can’t rest solely on his shoulders. It didn’t on Thursday, and the result was a convincing victory over a city rival.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Florida Gulf Coast’s Demetris Morant out 3-4 months

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Florida Gulf Coast redshirt junior forward Demetris Morant is expected to miss the next 3-4 months after undergoing surgery last week to repair a stress fracture in his right shin, the school announced on Tuesday.

The 6-foot-9 forward averaged 4.5 points, 4.4 blocks and 1.3 blocks per game in 33 appearances (18 starts) for the Eagles during the 2014-15 season.

“This is obviously an unfortunate setback for Demetris, but it was a procedure that needed to be done,” Florida Gulf Coast head coach Dooley said in a statement. “We decided it would be best to have it completed now to hopefully get him back for A-Sun play. It’s an opportunity now for other guys to step up in his absence, and I have confidence they’ll get the job done.”

The Eagles have the top frontline in the Atlantic Sun, one that returns Marc-Eddy Norelia and Filip Cvjeticanin, a 3-point shooter who missed all of last season recovering from back surgery. VCU transfer Antravious Simmons becomes eligible in the second semester.

Florida Gulf Coast begins the 2015-16 season on Nov. 14 against Ohio.

Bill Self on Cheick Diallo: ‘It may be a couple of more weeks’

2015 McDonald's All American Game
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Cheick Diallo is currently practicing with Kansas, but his eligibility still remains in question.

On Monday, Kansas head coach Bill Self appeared on “The Border Patrol” on WHB-AM 810 and was asked to update the status of his freshman big man.

“He’s been cleared to practice,” Self told hosts Steven St. John and Nate Bukaty. “(His status) is depending on what they find throughout from the information we submit to them whenever we get it all together.

“A lot of people think, ‘Well, why wouldn’t it all be together?’ Well there’s a lot of reasons why. It’s because they told us recently some things that they just wanted. Instead of just throwing it to them piece by piece, they requested we to just submit it all together, so it may be a couple of more weeks before we’re able to submit everything when you’re talking about getting information from schools in Mali and everything like that.

“But we hope in two weeks, maybe three weeks, before we have a definite answer. But right now, Cheick is like everybody else. He’s practicing.”

Diallo, a 6-foot-9 forward from Mali is allowed to practice with the Jayhawks, but has been waiting to be cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center despite enrolling in classes over the summer and earning six credits. Self anticipated this would be a long process, but has remained confident Diallo, the top-5 recruit in Class of 2015, will eventually be cleared to play this season.

For three years, Diallo attended Our Savior New American School in Centereach, New York, which is currently under NCAA review. In September, Pitt freshman Damon Wilson, Diallo’s teammate at OSNA, was cleared to play.

Kansas opens the season on Nov. 13 against Northern Colorado.