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Eric leads Temple's drubbing of Akron

A 25-point lead in the first half and hot shooting allowed the Owls to coast to victory.

Temple's fourth victory in 12 days was an inside job, carried out by an athletic 6-foot-11, 240-pounder with heaps of potential.

Akron, meet Micheal Eric.

The junior center was the big jump-starter in the Owls' 82-47 victory over the Zips on Sunday at the Liacouras Center.

"Mike, for whatever reason, was extremely focused today," Dunphy said of Eric, who scored 14 of his season-high 16 points in the first 12 minutes, 49 seconds. "You could tell at the shootaround, we go through a couple of shooting games. And it looked like he made every shot he took. . . . You could just tell that he was ready to go."

Eric made 6 of his first 8 field-goal attempts en route to shooting 7 of 12. He also finished with five rebounds, four blocked shots, and a steal in 27 minutes of action. With the game in hand, the Lagos, Nigeria, native sat out the final 8:32.

"Coach Dunphy said in practice the other day that I'm not aggressive in games," Eric said. "I just wanted to show that I am pretty aggressive. I gave it what I could today."

As a result, he wiped away any hope Akron (4-3) had of pulling off an upset.

With the score tied at 8, he scored nine of Temple's next 11 points to give the Owls (7-2) a 19-12 cushion. Then his three-point play gave Temple a 27-15 lead with 7:11 before intermission. Those three points started a half-ending, 16-0 run. From then on, it was all Temple.

The Owls, winners of four straight, built a 40-point lead, 78-38, on Khalif Wyatt's three-point play with 2:47 remaining.

Junior guard Ramone Moore, junior swingman Scootie Randall, and freshman reserve guard Aaron Brown were Temple's other double-figure scorers.

Brown finished with a career-high 13 points in just 16 minutes. Randall had 12 points, a game-high seven rebounds, and three assists, while Moore added 10 points.

In all, Temple shot a season-best 55.7 percent from the field and had 10 of 11 active players score at least two points.

Not bad, considering the Owls' two best players combined for just 10 points.

Senior power forward Lavoy Allen, an NBA prospect, produced only four points and one rebound in 18 minutes. Junior point guard Juan Fernandez was a little better with six points, five assists, and four rebounds.

But thanks to Eric's stepping up, combined with the Owls' defensive effort, the duo didn't need to produce.

With defenders constantly in their faces, the Zips shot just 29.5 percent from the field. It was the lowest field-goal percentage by a Temple opponent this season.

Standout power forward Nikola Cvetinovic was the most ineffective Akron player. He made just 2 of 8 shots, finishing with a season-low five points. Cvetinovic came into the game averaging a team-leading 14.8 points.

But the domination of the Zips started with Eric. Known as a role player, he was the focal point on a day where Allen and Fernandez failed to produce points.

"Whatever I can do to help the team out was my goal today," Eric said. "If Lavoy isn't scoring effectively, then I can try to score for him."