Men's Basketball Preview: Temple at Kent State

Allen Moff Published:

Who: Temple (0-0) at Kent State (1-0)

When/Where: Today, Noon/M.A.C. Center.

Radio/TV: WHLO 640 AM/ESPN.

Head Coaches: Fran Dunphy, Temple (134-65, 7th season; 444-228 overall); Rob Senderoff, Kent State (22-12, 2nd season).

Series: Temple leads 2-1, but Kent State won the last meeting at the M.A.C. Center 63-54 in 2006.

2011 Records: Temple 24-8; Kent State 21-12.

Scouting Temple: The Owls return eight lettermen and two starters from last year’s Atlantic 10 regular-season championship team, which lost to South Florida in its NCAA Tournament opener. Temple is led by 6-foot-4 senior guard Khalif Wyatt, the A-10’s top returning scorer, who averaged 17.1 points, 3.3 assists and 2.2 steals per game a year ago. The other returning starter is 6-6 senior forward Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson, who contributed 9.3 points and 6.6 rebounds per contest last winter.

Flash Facts: Flashes senior guard Randal Holt played 39 minutes in last Friday’s season-opening overtime victory over Drexel, despite just returning to practice full-go on Nov. 1 after undergoing offseason knee surgery. “His whole body was tired two days ago. I thought he got hit by a Mack truck when I looked at him,” said Senderoff. “(Sunday) he was back to being normal. He hadn’t played that long in such a long time, I think his body was just tired. We did not plan on playing him 39 minutes, but the situation called for Randal playing in the second half. But we’re going to watch his minutes much more closely going forward.” … The noon game is part of the annual ESPN Tip-Off Marathon, which includes games all day long starting at 8 a.m. “I’m very excited for our kids to get a chance to play against another great team, and for our program and our school to be on national TV,” said Senderoff. “We’re hoping students and fans come out. That’s really important for our program and for our kids, and for our university. We don’t get on ESPN very often.”

Senderoff on Temple: “Temple won the Atlantic-10, and they’re picked in the upper half again this year. They are going to play some guys that can pick-and-pop and shoot some 3s from the frontcourt. We’re gonna have to take care of the basketball, because Temple will pressure and get out in the passing lanes. Temple is also very deep. It’s going to be a major challenge for our team.”

Senderoff on Kent State: “For us this early in the season there’s only so much you can do thinking about the other team. We have to really focus on playing and competing at a very high level, regardless of opponent. We have to scramble when we’re in (defensive) rotations, and we have to put a body on guys when a shot goes up.”

Countdown to Akron: 67 days.

— Allen Moff/R-C

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