By CHASE SENIOR
Temple squandered an opportunity to turn its season around and regain some lost confidence in Saturday’s 74-68 loss to La Salle at the Palestra, but what the Owls do have is a budding star in guard Quenton DeCosey.
The sophomore from Union, N.J. scored five quick points in seven minutes in the first half, but was forced to the pine early after committing two personal fouls.
In the second half, DeCosey, always cool, calm and collected put on a show and single handily kept Temple in the game, scoring 16 points after the break–good for a game high 21 on 8-18 shooting.
“I thought he played great,” Temple coach Fran Dunphy said. “Not only did he score, but he made a couple of terrific passes as well. He’s a really terrific offensive player and he’s starting to come around on the defensive end as well and be a complete player. Certainly on the offensive end, he’s got game,” Dunphy added.
At 6-5, DeCosey can be a matchup nightmare with his ability to shoot from behind the arc, penetrate the lane, hang in the air and finish amongst the trees. His range is virtually unlimited.
DeCosey mixed and matched his shot selection on Saturday, settling for long range jumpers as well as some tough drives to the basket and La Salle had no answer.
“He’s really hard to guard,” La Salle coach Dr. John Giannini said after the game. “He’s gonna be the next Temple perimeter player to just be a prolific scorer and have a great career and win a ton of games like they always do at Temple.
“He’s really hard to stop one-on-one. We were smaller and quicker so we tried to get up into him and he still went by us,” Giannini added.
When the game appeared to be getting out of hand, it was DeCosey who put the team on his back and raised the volume inside the Palestra with his stellar offensive display.
“When I got back out there in the second half I just wanted to be aggressive. Just try to keep my team in the game,” DeCosey said.
“Coming into the second half I was a little rusty in the first couple minutes but I got on my groove a little bit,” he added.
Over his last seven games, DeCosey is averaging a shade under 20 points per game (19.8) and is shooting 55 percent from three-point range during that span.
DeCosey’s durability is eye popping. Before getting into foul trouble in the first half and playing every second after halftime of Saturday’s defeat, DeCosey had played every minute except two in four games since the turn of the New Year.
After a slow start to the season, DeCosey has been on a roll of late his all-around game is evolving as the season progresses.
“I’m still just trying to pick my spots,” he said. “Learning as a go like I said and just trying to be better everyday.”
Temple has now lost six straight games, but with DeCosey leading the charge, the Owls have a bright future with a solid nucleolus of young players.
“We just got to stay positive, stay together,” DeCosey said. “Positivity is the key and just keep working hard everyday.”