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Temple Hosts Bucknell in First Round of the NIT

Temple Men’s Basketball received a top seed in the NIT tournament.

It was not a bid into the postseason tournament the Temple Men’s Basketball team was hoping for last night, but the Owls received a top seed in the NIT tournament. They face eighth seed Bucknell (19-14), the Patriot League regular season champions,on Wednesday at the Liacouras Center (7 p.m. ET, ESPN3). Just short of a bid to the NCAA tournament, Temple was one of five American Athletic Conference teams selected for post season play. SMU and Cincinnati will compete in the 2015 NCAA Championship. Tulsa and UConn were chosen for the National Invitation Tournament with the Owls.

This is the 18th NIT appearance and first since 2006 for Temple. They won the NIT championships in 1938 and 1969 and finished third in 1957 and 2002. This season, the Owls have won 11 of their last 14 games, with an unfortunate loss coming to SMU this past Saturday in the semifinals of the AAC tournament.

The Owls have an impressive starting five to leading the team. Senior and American Athletic Conference First team selection Will Cummings, leads the team and conference in scoring with a 14.2 ppg average, fourth in assists at 4.3 per game, and first in steals averaging 2.0spg. Cummings is also fifth in the league in free throw percentage at .791, third in assist/turnover ratio (2.1), and finished in double figures for 14 consecutive games. Temple is also led by junior Quenton DeCosey who scored 14 points each game in the conference tournament and is second in scoring on the team, 12th in the conference, with 12.4 ppg. Senior Jesse Morgan averages 11.8 ppg and 2.7 three-point field goals per game. Junior forward Jalen Bond leads the league in rebounding at 8.0 rpg and is seventh for steals (1.4spg). The final starter, junior Devontae Watson, averages a block per game, ranking 13th in the conference.

AAC Coach of the Year, Fran Dunphy became the 24th active Division I coach to reach the 500-win mark in his career this past Saturday, March 13 with a win over Memphis 80-75 in the AAC Championship quarterfinals. Dunphy is hoping for his 501stcareer victory against Bucknell. Temple leads Bucknell 29-5 in the series between the two teams, but they have not played each other since the 1981-1982 season. The Bucknell/Temple match up will tip-off Wednesday at the Liacouras Center at 7:00 p.m. The game will be televised by ESPN3 and also broadcasted by 1210 AM WPHT.

The winner of Wednesday’s game will advance to face the winner of the game between fifth-seeded George Washington and fourth-seeded Pittsburgh being played on Tuesday.

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Renee is a Staff Writer at with a focus on Temple Men's Basketball and other area sports content.
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