Temple will be tough to beat in the Atlantic Ten if T.J. DiLeo keeps producing like he did Monday night.
With Khalif Wyatt suspended and Scootie Randall rehabilitating a knee injury, DiLeo received extended minutes off the bench against Penn. And the guard responded with a career night.
Entering the game after Juan Fernandez received his second foul, DiLeo went on to play a career-high 38 minutes in the Owls' 73-67 overtime victory at the Palestra.
The Cinnaminson High product scored a career-best 10 points to go with five rebounds and a blocked shot. The 6-foot-3 redshirt junior made 3 of 5 shot attempts and 4 of 6 free throws. His final two foul shots gave the Owls (1-0, 1-0 Big Five) their six-point margin of victory with five seconds left.
“In terms of confidence, this is the game that I had the most confidence,” said DiLeo, who averaged 2.3 points and 13 minutes last season. “It’s my junior season and getting to play extended minutes, I felt more confident out there.
“When you get going on the floor for a little bit, it really makes it a lot easier.”
With Wyatt’s one-game suspension over, DiLeo probably won’t play 38 minutes against Western Michigan on Thursday. And his minutes might dwindle some more when Randall is able to rejoin the team.
However, DiLeo played at a high level against Penn (1-1, 0-1). In addition to doing the little things, he gave Temple another scoring option.
If he can continue to do that, the Owls should have a satisfying season.