Temple's J.P. Moorman II showed grit by returning a night after being injured

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Freshman forward J.P. Moorman II keeps the ball away from UCF redshirt-senior guard-forward A.J. Davis before making a pass during the second half of Temple's 75-56 win over UCF at The Liacouras Center on Sunday, February 25, 2018.

ORLANDO, Fla. — When J.P. Moorman winced in pain and had to be helped off the court with one minute and one second left in Thursday’s 82-77 opening American Athletic Conference Tournament win over Tulane, it looked like he was done, at least for the weekend.

Moorman had ice on his left knee after the game and said he was hurting, but would try to be ready less than 24 hours later.

The 6-foot-7 freshman from Greensboro, North Carolina was more than ready during Friday’s 89-81 loss to Wichita State in the AAC quarterfinal at the Amway Center.

Coming off the bench he had eight points, three rebounds and one assist in 27 minutes before fouling out, continuing his strong late season play. He wasn’t 100 percent but provided his usual energy on both ends of the court despite being in discomfort.

“The pain went away after the first few minutes,” he said while heading to the Temple team bus. “Once my adrenaline started going I didn’t feel it, but I feel it now.”

He hopes to continue playing and that will be determined by whether Temple (17-15) earns a trip to the NIT. What is known is how much he meant to the team on Friday.

“He stepped up for us this game kept us in it especially down the stretch and he plays with extreme confidence,” senior point guard Josh Brown said.

Brown feels good passing the mantle to a player like Moorman.

“He has leadership qualities, man, he is vocal and he stand alone and he is physical,” Brown said. “I love playing with the kid and I know all his teammates here love playing with him too.”

Moorman had to patiently wait his turn this season. He didn’t play at all in six of the Owls first 12 games. Toward the latter part of the season he began seeing more time.

In his last three outings, he averaged nine points per game.

“I stayed ready and trusted the process,” Moorman said. “My coaches always told me to stay ready and I would be needed and eventually I kept working on my game and stayed ready for the opportunity and took advantage of it.”