Perhaps Temple’s most notable victory in a decade will be the springboard for consistent success this season.
Meanwhile, Vanderbilt is in danger of its first 0-3 start in 39 years.
Temple will try to avoid being tripped up by the visiting Commodores on Tuesday night in Philadelphia.
The Owls opened the season by making less than 40 percent of their shots while being shocked in a 76-73 overtime home loss to Wagner. Perhaps even more stunning, they followed that with a 68-64 victory over then-No. 16 Villanova on Friday.
The Owls again shot poorly (38.3 percent) but they limited the Wildcats to 2-of-7 from 3-point range and forced 13 turnovers.
It marked Temple’s first win over their Big 5 rival since 2012. It was also the Owls’ first victory against a ranked opponent since January 2020. The Owls won 17 games last season, but last made the NCAA Tournament in 2019.
“Temple was one of the big-time programs,” said guard Khalif Battle, who had 21 points against Villanova. “We’re just trying to bring it back to that. Bring our name back.”
Still, the Owls have work to do to earn an invite to their first Big Dance in Aaron McKie’s fourth season at his alma mater. Through two games, Temple has shot 38.6 percent overall and just 10-of-43 from beyond the arc.
The Owls’ Damian Dunn is averaging 25.5 points on 56.5-percent shooting, but the rest of the squad is shooting 34 percent.
Vanderbilt, however, has totaled just 115 points, making 36.7 percent from the floor, 15-of-55 from long range, and committed 31 turnovers while losing to Memphis and Southern Mississippi by a combined 21 points. The Commodores last dropped their first three contests in 1983-84.
“We’re disappointed that we’re starting the season off 0-2,” Vanderbilt coach Jerry Stackhouse said. “At the same time, I know that we’ll go back, look at things, and how we can improve, and how we can get better. And we’ve got the willingness of our guys to do that.”
Vanderbilt’s Jordan Wright averaged 12.3 points last season and has managed a team-high 19 through two games. In last year’s 72-68 loss to Temple, Wright had 16 points with 11 rebounds.
Temple’s Dunn scored 18 in that meeting.
–Field Level Media