Matthews back on track in second day of tournament

The golf team resumed play in the Furman Intercollegiate Golf Tournament on Saturday.

Junior Brandon Matthews moved up to third place in the overall individual standings by shooting a 66 on the day. The score was good enough to share a spot at the top of the single round.

After a rough first round, shooting 6 over par, Freshman Evan Notaro bounced back, finishing with a score of 71. This was good for one under par, joining Matthews as the only team members to score below par on the round.

The strong efforts from Matthews and Notaro helped push Temple up two spots in the leaderboard. Sixth place Temple now finds itself two strokes behind the next spot in the leaderboard, currently owned by West Carolina.

Freshman Mark Farley struggled out the gate going four over par on the first hole, and finished the day 11 over par.

Matthew Teesdale, who was the lone Owl to finish below par in the first round, attempted to repeat his success. Teesdale started out hot with a score of two under par through the first eight holes, but struggled at the ninth hole with a triple bogie. Teesdale was able to not let the bad hole get the best of him, and he finished with a score of three over par.

The ninth hole was an issue for his teammates Pat Ross and Even Thornton as well. Both golfers left the hole with double bogies, but like their teammate, they were able to battle through.

“If we take out just the ninth hole, we’re in second place.” Said Matthews, who believed that the team needed to focus on cleaning up there game.

Despite another double-bogie on the tenth, Ross finished one stroke over par. Thornton finished two over on the day. Both golfers did well moving forward after their poor performances. The Owls hope to continue to move forward heading into the final round of the tournament.

-Matt Rego

Teesdale shines in Furman tournament

The Owls teed off Friday morning in Greenville, South Carolina for their second tournament of the spring season.

The Furman Intercollegiate Golf Tournament was held at Furman University’s 7,000-yard, par-72 golf course located on the campus.

The tournament held a field of 18 teams with the majority coming from the Southern Conference. Of the 18 in the field, four schools found themselves placed in the NCAA’s top 100. The most notable of these teams was Virginia Tech, the 31st best in the nation.

The field opened with less than stellar conditions, which included mild winds, humidity, and cloudy skies. The Owls battled through the elements and closed out the match in sole possession of eighth place.

Junior Brandon Matthews started strong, but struggled at the 10th and 13th holes. He said he was satisfied in his own overall play Friday.

“I had a nice first stretch of holes on the start with some birdies and was able to even it back out at the end,” Matthews said.

Senior Matthew Teesdale also finished with the best score of the Owls at 1-under par.

– Matt Rego

Owls rebound in defeat of Lehigh

After losing two to Penn and Georgetown this past Saturday, the Owls rebounded with a victory against Lehigh, 5-2.

In singles, juniors Nicolas Paulus (6-4, 6-2), Hicham Belkssir (6-3, 6-2) and Santiago Canete (3-6, 6-2, 6-2) led the team with strong performances. Sophomores Vineet Naran (6-4, 6-2) and Filip Stipcic, who won in 7-6 (2), 6-2, each took singles points to help the Owls gain control of the match.

“Santiago played really well today, even though he was under the weather,” coach Steve Mauro said. “After losing the first set, he won the next two sets pretty convincingly and I was happy with how he performed. Everyone else played really solid, and I was happy with how we came back from back-to-back losses.”

In doubles, the Owls struggled and Mauro said that he was unhappy with the team’s effort on the court.

“I was disappointed that we lost the doubles point,” Mauro said. “I don’t know what happened, but to me it looked like the guys weren’t ready for the match and were tired. The guys didn’t look up for the match.”

After losing the double point because his team was not ready, Mauro had to get his team back in the right mindset.

“After doubles we had to talk about showing more emotion in these matches because I though we were definitely the better doubles team today,” Mauro said. “I hope the guys learn not to take any team for granted in singles or doubles. We need come out with a lot more energy in our matches.”

With his win in singles today, Paulus now has 48 career victories, fifth all-time since 2001. He is four wins away from passing current graduate-assistant coach Kacper Rams for fourth all-time on that list.

The Owls (10-8, 0-2 American Athletic Conference) will have three days off before playing one of the most important matches of the season, as they host conference rival Connecticut on March 28.

-Dalton Balthaser

Gymnastics coach Aaron Murphy dismissed following investigation

Athletic Director Kevin Clark announced on Monday afternoon that ninth-year women’s gymnastics coach Aaron Murphy will not return to the program following an internal investigation that began last month into what the university described as “violations of athletic department policy.”

Murphy’s dismissal was made public through a brief press release posted to the athletic department’s website that stated there will be a national search to fill the vacancy. Senior Associate Athletic Director for Communications Larry Dougherty declined to provide any details regarding what the investigation into Murphy uncovered, citing the department’s desire to maintain privacy of personnel matters.

Check back for updates.

Denver match cancelled to snow

Temple will no longer be playing on Friday against the University of Denver due to poor field conditions. The game was canceled at 3 p.m. after close to three inches of snow accumulated on the field with more expected to come.

It is possible that the match will be played Saturday if Denver’s flight back to Colorado Friday night is canceled. If not, the Owls will play next at home against the University of Florida on Saturday, March 28 to start off Big East Conference play.

Temple currently holds a five-game winning streak and an 8-1 record.

-Matt Cockayne

Former running back arrested on trafficking charges

Former Temple running back Matt Brown was one of two men arrested on numerous human trafficking and prostitution charges Thursday.

According to a report from Baltimore’s WBAL-TV 11, Brown and 30-year-old Anthony Leon Eley Jr., Brown and Eley Jr. brought three girls – ages 14, 16 and 17 – to a Baltimore hotel room. Police said one of the girls asked for money.

Vice detectives had responded to an advertisement known to be used by prostitutes and arranged a meeting at the hotel, leading to the arrests. According to the report, both men told police they knew the girls were underage and taking part in prostitution.

Brown, a 25-year-old Baltimore resident, was a special-teams standout for the football team from 2009-2012, and is the school’s fourth-best all-time leading rusher. He signed for the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers in May 2013, but was released prior to the start of the season. He also had a brief stint with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League from 2013-14, but failed to appear in a game before his release in June 2014.

Brown was released on bail Thursday night and will await a May 19 trial in Baltimore. His father, Warren Brown, is a Baltimore attorney.

Brown marks the second former Temple running back arrested in three days, and the fourth Temple-affiliated player arrested this week.

The school’s second-highest all-time leading rusher, former running back Bernard Pierce, was arrested on DUI charges early Wednesday morning. He was released by the Baltimore Ravens later that day, the team with which he had spent the entirety of his three-year NFL career.

Pierce rushed for 532 yards and averaged 4.9 yards per carry as a rookie in 2012, but his numbers progressively dipped through his next two seasons as Baltimore’s backup running back.

On Monday night, current Temple players Dion Dawkins and Haason Reddick were arrested on aggravated assault and related charges stemming from an incident at an off-campus party in Philadelphia’s Northern Liberties section in January. Both players were released on bail Monday night and will appear in court for a preliminary hearing March 31.

They have been suspended from the team, but still remain on the roster.

Two football players charged with assault

Two members of the football team surrendered to police Monday night on assault charges following a January altercation with another Temple student. 6ABC initially reported the arrests late Monday night.

According to the report, junior offensive lineman Dion Dawkins and redshirt-junior Haason Reddick were charged following an altercation that transpired on Jan. 17 at an off-campus party in the Northern Liberties section of Philadelphia. The two allegedly left a victim – reportedly a Temple senior – with a broken orbital bone and a concussion following the incident.

The 20-year-old student-athletes will await a preliminary hearing on March 31 and, according to court documents released Tuesday morning, have been charged with aggravated assault, conspiracy and related charges. They were both released after posting 10 percent of $10,000 bail.

Dawkins and Reddick have been suspended by the university, according to a spokesperson, and are awaiting arraignment after acquiring lawyers, per the report. Court documents did not include attorneys for either student-athlete.

Dawkins, a 6-foot-5, 315-pound left tackle, played in 11 games for the Owls last fall as a starter. Reddick, a 6-foot-1, 225-pound defensive lineman, started twice and played in nine games, registering 25 tackles.

As of Tuesday morning, both players are still listed on the team’s roster.

The 6ABC report stated that the injured student has medically withdrawn from the university, but plans to resume classes in the fall semester.

In light of the incident, Temple issued the following statement on Monday night:

“Temple University is aware of allegations of improper conduct by two of its student-athletes at an off-campus location in January. The university has, and will continue, to fully cooperate with the Philadelphia Police Department in its investigation and will take appropriate actions outlined in the Student Conduct Code. The two students have been suspended from football team activities pending further investigation.”

Check back for updates.

Andrew Parent contributed reporting.

Owls make WNIT tournament

The women’s basketball team was included among the 64-team field selected for the Women’s National Invitation Tournament, which was announced Monday night.

The team’s inclusion in the tournament marks the first time it will take part in postseason play since the 2011-12 season.

Temple needed to win five of its last six games of the regular season in order to guarantee itself a .500 record and become qualified for postseason play.

The Owls’ first-round loss in the American Athletic Conference tournament put some anxiety in the team as a win over the Pirates would have put them in a more favorable postseason situation.

Sitting at a 16-16 overall record, the team was unsure if it would receive an invite to the WNIT.

The last time the team reached postseason play was in Williams’ freshman year when it also played in the WNIT. The Owls, then in the Atlantic 10 conference, finished with a 23-10 record that season.

They advanced two rounds in the tournament with wins over Quinnipiac University and Harvard University before losing to Syracuse University.

Owls snubbed in tourney

The men’s basketball team did not receive an at-large bid in the NCAA tournament, marking the squad’s second-straight season missing the field of 68.

Despite a turnaround season where the Owls finished 23-10 (13-5 American Athletic Conference), the Owls were among the first four teams left out of the tournament. The squad also beat then-No. 10 Kansas, but fell to No. 20 Southern Methodist three times during the season.

Men’s basketball to face Southern Methodist in conference semis

HARTFORD, Conn. – With an 80-75 defeat of Memphis in the quarterfinal round of the American Athletic Conference tournament, the Owls won the right to face the team that beat them twice in the regular season.

Temple, the fourth seed in the tournament, will face Southern Methodist, led by hall-of-fame coach Larry Brown, in a conference semifinal matchup Saturday at the XL Center.

The Mustangs highlighted a regular season in which they finished 25-6 with a 15-3 conference record, which topped The American standings. SMU also finished the season with a spot in the Associated Press Top 25 poll for the second consecutive year, holding the No. 20 ranking.

With Nic Moore leading the way for the Mustangs, they’ll be tough to contain on the offensive end. Moore, a redshirt-junior guard, won the conference’s player-of-the-year award and is averaging 14.5 points per game and 5.2 assists per game in 31 games, including SMU’s 74-68 win against eighth-seeded East Carolina on Friday.

The Owls will counter with senior guard Will Cummings, who drew consideration for player of the year in his own right, as enters Saturday’s contest with averages of 14.4  ppg and 4.3 apg, along with 2 steals per game.

A Temple spokesman said Saturday morning that junior forward Jaylen Bond is questionable for the game after Bond sprained his right ankle toward the end of the first half against Memphis. He did not return for the rest of the game.

If Bond remains absent for Saturday’s contest, that could give an edge to a Mustangs frontcourt consisting of sixth-man-of-the-year honoree Markus Kennedy, along with the likes of sophomore Ben Moore and senior Yanick Moreira.

ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi had Temple out of his list of teams that he predicts will be the last four teams to make the tournament, and among those that will secure an automatic spot in the second round.

While Friday’s defeat of Memphis may help the Owls’ tournament resume come Sunday night, junior center Devontae Watson, who posted eight points and four rebounds in the second half of Friday’s game in light of Bond’s absence, said his team needs to keep winning if it wants to play in the field of 68.

“With all the talk that’s going on, it’s definitely important that we [beat Memphis],” Watson said after Friday’s game. “The only sure way you get into the NCAA tournament is that you win this tournament. That’s the only sure way you’re getting a bid, and you have to try to strive for that. You’re not guaranteed unless you get that bid.”