Delaware State hadn't found a way to win yet this season - many of their opponents had paid the Hornets to show up in deeper waters - but Temple let the Hornets dream a little bit before the Owls eventually took care of business in a 78-63 win Saturday at the Liacouras Center.
"I think there's a lot of danger," Temple coach Fran Dunphy said later. "It's exactly what we thought as we're sitting there on the sidelines. We started off, we just didn't make any shots early. I thought we had some really clean looks and made no shots. You know you're in a little bit of trouble."
It was never a thing of beauty, but Temple improved to 5-5. Delaware State fell to 0-11.
Getting a little bench infusion, the Owls slowly pulled away in the second half, scoring or getting to the foul line on nine straight possessions on their way to a 55-41 lead with 10 minutes left. Quenton DeCosey led the Owls with 20 points on 12-of-15 free-throw shooting, plus a career-high 12 rebounds.
A little first-half help came from freshman Trey Lowe. Late in the half, Delaware State was up a point - Temple was very much in that "danger" zone - when Lowe hit a corner three on a feed from Levan Alston Jr. Lowe followed that by stealing a backcourt pass and throwing in a dunk. It was the highlight sequence of the afternoon.
"Trey caused some havoc out there, which he can do," Dunphy said. "He's just got to improve on the defensive end, keeping people in front of him. . . . Every day, we play a little bit of one-on-one basketball and just say: 'You've got to really take it personal when someone goes by you.' Just working at it."
Asked about his role, Lowe, who had nine points in 16 minutes, said: "Basically coming in and giving a lot of energy, just working my hardest until the next dead ball or the next media timeout."
Right after Lowe's mini-spree, DeCosey cut through the lane and gave Temple a 30-24 lead with a dunk off a feed from Daniel Dingle. At halftime, the Owls led, 35-27. Dunphy talked about how each of DeCosey's four offensive rebounds also resulted in points. He added that having Jalen Bond and Obi Enechionyia on the bench for extended periods is tough.
In the first half, Temple ended up shooting 31.4 percent; made just 2 of 13 three-pointers; and took the lead basically because the Owls outscored Delaware State, 12-4, in points off turnovers and had nine second-chance points to none for Delaware State. By game's end, the Owls had a 17-3 advantage on second-chance points, basically the difference in the game, since the Owls made only 4 of 27 three-pointers.
"We're just going to have to be extremely focused going into conference play," DeCosey said, acknowledging the team isn't where it wants to be at 5-5. "Treat every game as a big game."