South Carolina vs Temple Preview and Prediction
South Carolina vs Temple Preview
South Carolina meets Temple in the second game of the Under Armour Reunion at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The Gamecocks have won three straight games, including a 78-61 win over FIU on Monday. The Owls are coming off an 87-83 loss against La Salle on Sunday.
This Gamecocks squad is not the same unit that made the first Final Four appearance in school history last season, they lost three starters including Sindarius Thornwell who propelled them to that miracle run. South Carolina are winners of three straight games after dropping a surprising game to Illinois State as part of the Puerto Rico Tip-off Tournament. USC defeated Florida International on the road last time out being led by 26 points and 10 rebounds on 10-of-13 shooting from junior Chris Silva (6-9, 225). Sophomore Malik Kotsar (6-10, 245) added 16 points, six rebounds and six assists on 8-of-13 shooting. The Gamecocks shot 52.5 percent from the field and outrebounded the Panthers by 14. They also held FIU to 41.5 percent shooting and forced 15 turnovers.
Even against one of the worst teams in college basketball, it was nice to see Frank Martin’s squad lock-in and play defense–something they have struggled with a bit earlier in the season.
However, the bench has not performed up to par for the Gamecocks–against FIU they managed a measly four bench points, their fewest since the Elite Eight game against Florida when the Gamecock reserves contributed just three points.
Temple had a solid three game winning streak with wins over Old Dominion, Auburn and Clemson before giving up a late second half lead and losing to an underrated LaSalle team 87-83. The Owls shot the ball extremely well but they couldn’t hold onto an 11-point lead in the second half and fell by four from Tom Gola Arena. Pookie Powell’s three-pointer gave La Salle an 83-81 lead they wouldn’t relinquish and the Owls fell, despite shooting 55.7 percent from the field. Quinton Rose led Temple with 21 points and seven boards on 10-of-17 shooting. Shizz Alston Jr. added 18 points, while Obi Enechinyia chipped in with 16 points on 4-5 from 3-point range. This game was about turnovers and missed opportunities. Temple turned it over 13 times, while the Explorers committed just three.
Alston Jr. leads the Owls with 18.2 points per game and field goal percentage with 56.1 percent. Temple averages 78.5 points per game, shoots 41.8 percent from 3-point range (27th) and 46.2 percent from the field. They allow 71.5 points per game and 41.7 percent shooting (27.8% 3pt).
This is a very evenly matched game against two teams who have NCAA Tournament aspirations. If Temple continues to be careless with the basketball South Carolina will take advantage. However, if the Owls shoot the way they did against their previous opponents (over 50 percent from the field) South Carolina does not have the shooting ability to keep up.
LINE: South Carolina (-1.5)
South Carolina 67 Temple 66