Nearly a week after celebrating with fans who stormed the court after a decisive victory against No. 10 Kansas, with the start of conference play looming, the Temple Owls returned to the court and sidestepped a potential land mine.
They didn't overlook Delaware State.
Jesse Morgan scored a team-high 15 points, all on three-pointers in the second half, and Jaylen Bond added 12 points and set a building record with 18 rebounds on the way to a 66-56 victory Sunday night at the Liacouras Center.
Temple (9-4) established a 12-2 lead in the first eight minutes, led by 31-21 at intermission and staved off DelState's early second-half surge to secure its third consecutive victory. The Owls are 7-0 at home.
"When my first shot went down, I was locked in after that," Morgan said.
The Owls were playing their first game since they stunned Kansas on Dec. 22 at the Wells Fargo Center. This was Temple's final contest before beginning American Athletic Conference play Wednesday at defending national champion Connecticut.
The potential to overlook sub-.500 Delaware State was evident.
"We certainly did talk about it ad nauseam," Temple coach Fran Dunphy said.
Delaware State (5-8) has lost four of its last five games but has enjoyed playing the role of giant slayer this season. Two days after losing to Iona by 50 points, the Hornets knocked off Wake Forest on Nov. 28 for the team's first victory ever against an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent.
DelState opened the second half against Temple on a 9-3 run, chopping its deficit to 34-30 before Morgan, who missed all seven of his shots in the first half, buried his first of five three-pointers to stifle the Hornets' rally. Minutes later, another of his threes reestablished Temple's double-digit lead.
"We knew it was going to be a long game," Bond said. "We just had to stay with the team concept and play hard, especially on defense."
The Owls led by as many as 14 points.
Amere May scored a game-high 22 points for Delaware State. Kendall Gray had 11 points and 15 rebounds and Aric Dickerson scored 11 points.
But the Hornets were limited to just 29 percent shooting while Temple connected on 32.5 percent of its shots.
"We should be better than we were tonight," Dunphy said. "I give Delaware State a little bit of that credit. I thought they made some really good plays. But for our guys, we just need to play better. We do have the start of our league season coming up at the defending national champions, so we've got our hands full."