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  • Greg Wille

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: After road defeats to begin conference, TC squads eye home wins vs. SW Christian


Playing on the road against Ranger on Saturday, Temple College's men's and women's basketball teams weren't able to begin Northern Texas Junior College Athletic Conference competition with victories.

Back at TC Gym on Wednesday evening, the Leopards and the Lady Leopards have opportunities to get back on the winning track in their NTJCAC home openers against Southwestern Christian. The women's game begins at 5 p.m., followed by the men's duel at approximately 7.

First-year men's head coach Clifton Ellis and new women's head coach Amber Taylor are seeking their first conference wins with Temple.

After recording blowout victories in their first three non-conference games, the Leopards (3-1) led Ranger 45-34 at halftime but were outscored 49-36 in the second half and lost 83-81. Sophomore forward Aleu Aleu paced TC with 20 points and 20 rebounds. The Texas-San Antonio signee is averaging 18.3 points and 11.8 rebounds per game.

Sophomore guard Khouri Perkins leads Temple at 19.3 points per game and also averages 7.8 rebounds and 3.3 steals, tied with freshman guard Kristopher O'Neal for the team's top mark in steals. Four other Leopards are scoring in double figures on average: freshman guard Elijah Lomas (16.8), freshman guard Sherrod Whitley (13.5), freshman forward Maison Adeleye (12.5) and sophomore point guard Tyler Watkins (12.0). Watkins also dishes out 5.7 assists per game.

Temple takes on a Southwestern Christian squad (1-2, 0-2 NTJCAC) that lost 66-45 to McLennan last Wednesday and fell 76-66 at Collin on Saturday. The Leopards will host Hill (5-2, 1-1) at 4 p.m. Saturday.

On the women's side, Temple couldn't overcome a rough second quarter in its league-opening 81-66 loss at Ranger. Tied 18-18 after the first quarter, the Lady Leopards were outscored 21-8 in the second period to incur a 39-26 halftime deficit. They were unable to make up any ground in the second half of Taylor's conference debut as TC's coach.

Sophomore forward Starr Jacobs led the Lady Leopards (4-1) with 19 points, 12 rebounds, five steals and two blocked shots. Fellow sophomore forward Jordan Walker produced 13 points and three steals, and sophomore guard Kamani Jones had 12 points, five rebounds and two blocks. Sophomore guard Jordyn Carter had only seven points on 1-for-12 shooting from the field but contributed five rebounds, five assists and four steals.

Jacobs paces TC with 23 points per game, followed by four teammates in double figures: freshman guard Kirsten Zaruba (14.2), Jones (13.7), Carter (13.5) and Walker (12.8).

Temple on Wednesday hosts a Southwestern Christian squad (0-2, 0-2 NTJCAC) that has absorbed a pair of blowout defeats: 80-59 against McLennan and 72-50 at Collin. The Lady Leopards have another conference home game Saturday, battling Hill (7-0, 2-0) at 2 p.m.

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