Temple swingman Scootie Randall could have whined about his lack of playing time before this season, as some of his supporters had done.

But the Communications Tech graduate realized that athletic ability alone doesn't guarantee playing time with the 3-2 Owls.

So Randall focused on being consistent, playing better defense, and becoming a vocal leader. And so far this season, he has blossomed: He is starting and is the backbone of the Owls.

The 6-foot-6, 205-pound junior constantly yells defensive instructions to teammates and looks to set picks before trying a shot.

"My role is to be the aggressive person on the team, keeping everybody's head up," Randall said as the Owls prepared to face Central Michigan (2-3) Wednesday night in Mount Pleasant, Mich. "I accept that role because that is the type of player that I am."

Randall is averaging a modest 6.6 points and 4.8 rebounds. He is making 46.4 percent of his shots from the field, 36.8 percent of his three-pointers.

But Randall has proved that he can produce when called on. He carried the Owls in Friday's 65-58 victory over Georgia while standouts Lavoy Allen and Juan Fernandez struggled.

Randall's role on the defensive end is what the Owls rely on the most. He often matches up with the opponent's best perimeter player.

In 2008, Randall was named Pennsylvania high school player of the year in Class AAA by the Associated Press. After averaging 21 points and 12 rebounds as a high school senior, Randall was expected to perform at the same level at Temple, but he averaged just 1.7 points per game through his first two seasons. So he looked for guidance.

Teammate Ramone Moore had a similar experience. Like Randall, Moore is a former Public League MVP. One season after leading the Public League in scoring, Moore, from Southern High, was redshirted during the 2007-08 campaign at Temple.

Last season, Moore was named the Atlantic Ten sixth man of the year. Through five games this season, Moore, now the starting shooting guard, is the team's leading scorer with an average of 10.8 points per game.

"Once you get here, you realize, 'I have to fall back and wait my turn and wait for the opportunity to come,' " Moore said. "And once you get the opportunity, you have to make the best of it. I think Scootie and I have done a good job of doing that."

On Wednesday, the duo will try to help Temple erase the bad taste from Sunday's 54-51 setback against Texas A&M in the fifth-place game of the Old Spice Classic in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

A sold-out crowd of 5,300 is expected for Central Michigan's first game at the new McGuirk Arena.

The Chippewas snapped a three-game losing streak with a 62-52 win at Illinois-Chicago on Wednesday. Freshman guard Trey Ziegler, the son of Central Michigan coach Ernie Ziegler, is the team's leading scorer at 18.8 points per game.

Contact staff writer Keith Pompey at 610-313-8029 or kpompey@phillynews.com. Follow him on Twitter at @pompeysgridlock.