Originally written on Buzz On Broad  |  Last updated 11/6/14

Aaron Brown scored a career-high 20 points to lead Temple past Central Michigan in the Owls’ home opener, 86-74. The Owls hit season highs in three-point attempts (24) and makes (11) as they used a scorching opening 20 minutes to build a 14-point halftime lead.

With their starting center out for the next six weeks, the Temple Owls are going to have to rely on strong guard play and spreading the scoring around if they want to survive a rocky stretch of injuries. Strong guard play was what they got in front of a crowd of 5,215, with four members of the Owls’ backcourt scoring in double digits.

Brown, who head coach Fran Dunphy calls his “hardest-working player,” was the player of the night for Temple, connecting twice from distance in a first-half spurt that saw the Owls increase their lead to 24 points, the high water mark of the night.

“It felt good to be out there and knock down the first couple shots,” Brown said after the game. “I felt good, so I just kept shooting.”

Temple must have felt pretty good as a team as the game started, getting three-pointers from Fernandez, Moore and Wyatt in the first five minutes as they opened up a 16-8 lead on the Chippewas. Temple did a good job spreading the ball around all game, getting 22 assists on 28 made baskets.

“All the guards, we talked as a group, may be holding the ball a little too long,” said junior guard Khalif Wyatt, who added 23 points to lead all scorers along with a career-high seven assists. “We all focused on making the extra pass and just playing more unselfish.”

The offensive deluge didn’t stop the entire first 20 minutes, with Temple getting double-digit scoring from four different players in the first half alone. Along with Wyatt and Brown, seniors Ramone Moore (17 points) and Juan Fernandez (10) finished with double-digits, as did sophomore forward Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson who had 13.

The second half didn’t go nearly as well as the first for the Owls, with the Chippewas able to pull within nine points on multiple occassions. After Temple took a 24-point lead with 3:25 left in the first half, CMU went on a 17-2 run to close it to 51-43 just two minutes into the second.

Trey Ziegler had 13 second-half points and 22 for the game while Andre Coimbra added a career-high of his own, scoring 22 points for Central Michigan. Ziegler, son of head coach Ernie Ziegler, scored 13 of his points after halftime as the Chippewas tried to make a game out of it.

“We have to pay attention to detail and if we’re getting pounded down inside, we have to cover for one another,” Dunphy said. “I don’t think we did as good a job as I would have liked.”

The Owls faithful let out a huge cheer when Temple coach Fran Dunphy sent redshirt freshman Jimmy McDonnell into action for the first time in his Temple career with two minutes remaining in the first half. McDonnell is, at 6’10”, the only legitimate frontcourt option that Temple has on the bench, but still isn’t quite ready to compete at the Division I level.

Temple (4-2) travels to Toledo to take on the Rockets (5-1) on Wednesday night.

Josh Verlin is the college sports editor for BuzzOnBroad.com. Follow him on Twitter


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