Temple’s Daniel Green snared an offensive rebound, passed the ball to the top of the key to Houston Martin, who then hit Jamarion Carlton with a no-look pass under the hoop where the 6-foot-4 freshman finished with a layup and drew the foul.
If head coach Joey Martin has his way this season, that sequence will happen more often than not via those three and any other possible combination of players. It certainly was in abundance start to finish during the Wildcats’ home opener Tuesday night when they rolled past short-handed Waco University 76-18 inside Wildcat Gym.
“We pride ourselves on scoring off assists, so ball movement, I thought, was great. Being unselfish is going to carry us a lot further down the road. I want to score off of assists as many times as we can. Our team goal is 20 (assists). If we ever get to be pretty good, it’s going to be 25,” said Joey Martin, in his second-year at the helm.
“I don’t want to go one-on-one and take shots. I want to move the ball and get the right shots, make them have to play defense. So, I was impressed with that tonight.”
Also ample Tuesday were Temple’s steals and transition layups — or slam dunks (there were plenty of those, too) — created from a pestering press that left the Trojans with little room and few looks at the basket.
The visitors finished with 29 shots from the floor and 32 turnovers.
“We’re going to press and trap, and people know that. So, I just look at our rotations, not just the trap but the rotations part. It keeps you off balance, and that’s the goal,” Joey Martin said. “That’s how our kids like to play, is aggressive, be tough, trap and be fast.”
Jaydon Hall led the Wildcats (2-0), who started the season Saturday with a 76-54 victory at Killeen, with 20 points against the Trojans. He was joined in double figures by Jaylon Hall (13) and Carlton (12). They were among 10 Wildcats to post at least two points.
“We are going to need that a lot this season to win games,” Jaydon Hall said of the spread-out scoring attack.
Earnest Battle had 11 points for University (0-1), which was without two injured starters and suited seven players.
Jaydon Hall scored Temple’s first four points before Carlton’s aforementioned three-point play made it 7-0 less than 3 minutes into the contest. The Wildcats led 18-0 until Aaron Ezeb’s layup got the Trojans on the board with 11 seconds remaining in a first quarter that Jaylon Hall closed by hitting a corner 3-pointer at the buzzer for 21-2.
Carlton’s block off the backboard of Kyle Young’s layup attempt that led to Jaydon Hall’s easy bucket at the other end highlighted a second quarter in which Temple outscored University 21-3 for a 42-5 advantage at halftime.
Instead of the 3-point try, Jaylon Hall went with a reverse layup to beat the third-quarter buzzer to make it 59-12, and Jaydon Hall, Deshaun Brundage and Kiron Williams hit a 3-poiner apiece in the fourth.
The Wildcats finished 32-of-66 from the floor and 6-of-10 at the free throw line. Green chipped in eight points, and Brundage, Williams and Amaree Sewell five.
“We have a lot of interchangeable parts. I tell them, you have to be able to play multiple positions. We’re really guard-oriented, obviously. We had a lot of size last year. We don’t have as much this year but we’re quicker, faster,” said Joey Martin, whose team was 18-18 and missed the playoffs last season. “I’m impressed with what I see now. We have another couple games early next week and then it gets a little tougher.”
Temple hosts Ignite homeschool at 2 p.m. Monday and is at Georgetown Gateway at 3 p.m. next Tuesday before the Thanksgiving holiday.
The Wildcats return from that break Nov. 29 for a road game at Waco then head to the San Angelo ISD tournament, which starts Dec. 1.
“Our mental toughness has to be there. Mental toughness shows up in tougher games and will be a key to us winning big games this year,” Joey Martin said. “We’re down by six, down by eight, can you fight back? That’s what I challenge this group with. If we can overcome that, we have a chance to win some games.”