Temple's Cummings taking his game to another level in NIT
Temple has received contributions from a variety of sources during its three NIT wins, but the one constant has been the major production of senior point guard Will Cummings.
This is not exactly a surprise.
For the season, Cummings leads Temple in scoring (14.9 ppg.), assists (4.2) and steals (1.9). In the NIT, he has taken it up a level. While the assists are slightly down, the points are up.
A first-team all-American Athletic Conference choice, Cummings is averaging 22 points, 3.6 assists and 1.3 steals in the three home NIT wins.
Cummings clearly set the tone in the opening win, a 73-67 triumph over Bucknell. Temple, which trailed by as many as six points in the first half of what was generally a tight game, needed that opening lift after the disappointment of not earning an NCAA bid.
He scored a season-high 30 points, hitting 9 of 14 from the field, 3 of 4 from beyond the arc and all nine free throws.
Coach Fran Dunphy said there was an unsure element to the team that first game, not knowing how it would react after the NCAA disappointment.
"Will Cummings took care of that relatively quickly," Dunphy said. "He just kind of strapped us on his back in Game 1 against Bucknell and just carried us."
Then after that, there were others who gave Temple a huge lift. Jesse Morgan scored a season-high 20 points and Devin Coleman scored all 13 of his points in the second half and Josh Brown added 11 points in a 90-77 win over George Washington.
During the 77-59 quarterfinal win over Louisiana Tech, Quenton DeCosey added the first double-double of his career, with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Starting center Devontae Watson had a quiet nine points on 4 for 4 shooting in the quarterfinal win.
Dan Dingle came off the bench to contribute seven points and five rebounds in 20 minutes. It was his most playing time since logging 21 minutes in a 66-53 home win against East Carolina on Feb. 14.
So it has been both the starters and bench who have been major contributors.
It all started with Cummings, who is shooting 21 for 38 from the field, 7 for 12 from three-point range and 17 of 17 from the foul line in the three wins.
And now Cummings can't wait for Tuesday's 7 p.m. semifinal matchup against Miami at Madison Square Garden.
"It's great, the biggest stage at Madison Square Garden, friends and family there, you are with your teammates, you get (the chance for) two final games as a college basketball player," Cummings said. "I am looking forward to having fun and competing and working hard."