Temple pulled away in the second half behind the first career double-doubles from senior Scootie Randall and sophomore Anthony Lee as it went on to a 77-63 win and 2-0 start.
Temple cleaned up some of the problems it encountered in an opening win over Kent State Tuesday – rebounding and turnovers – but also struggled from the field, particularly on three-point shooting where the hosts shot 4-for-26. Temple outrebounded a Rice (1-2) team decimated by transfers, 43-30, and had 16 assists to eight turnovers.
"It was a different kind of game," said Temple coach Fran Dunphy. "Any time you turn it over less than 10 times (you are pleased), and they only had four offensive rebounds, but they were undermanned, so we should have done a better job, both learning from the first game and it's not Rice's strength.
"I thought we had some pretty good looks and didn't shoot it well. We did some good things, but it was not a work of art. We had great looks. Of the 16 (three-point shots) in the first half, 14 were absolutely spectacular looks."
Randall, who went for a career high 31 Tuesday in his return to his lineup after missing last year to knee surgery, finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds, but was just 5-of-16 from the field and 1-of-8 from range.
"(Shooting) is what we do well, and the next game our shots will fall," said Randall. "We have all week to practice, be ready for the next game (against Delaware), and shots will fall. For me personally, I had a lot of shots, didn't knock them down. I had to find other things to do and as you can see on the rebounding end, I did."
Lee didn't have any problems hitting his shots with 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting and a career-high 13 rebounds. Senior forward Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson led all scorers with 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting.
"That's my job, I'm a double-double guy," said Lee. "I'm proud of myself, but I'm not satisfied because I dropped some (rebounds) and didn't react as well as I needed to (on others). I'm a rebound-first guy and I knew I needed to get more this game. We knew about (their lack of size), but they hustled."
Khalif Wyatt added 17 points and six assists. Temple played 10 players but registered just five bench points and junior Dalton Pepper logged just four minutes. Dunphy subbed in four players at one time in the first half, but wasn't happy with the defense and shortened his rotation in the second half.
"Defensively we gave up a lot of go-bys," said Dunphy. "We'd like to get as many people as we can in the game, but our perimeter defense was not as good as it could be. Jake O'Brien had a big-time three, he'll get more playing time. … Some games will be like that, we didn't have a lot of bench points, but we didn't have a lot of bench time."
Wyatt said over the course of the season, Temple's depth will show its value.
"As the season goes on, Pepp will get more comfortable, we're going to need him, and Jake will score," said Wyatt. "As the season goes on, different guys will step up. We have guys who can help us win, and it will be good for us in the long run."
Khalif Wyatt/Scootie Randall:
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