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Dingle staying ready despite diminished playing time

01/22/2015, 10:30pm EST
By Tom Reifsnyder
Daniel Dingle

Daniel Dingle (above) has seen his minutes and production plummet over the last six weeks. (Photo: Mark Jordan)

Tom Reifsnyder (@tom_reifsnyder)

After missing the majority of last season with a torn meniscus, everything seemed to be falling back into place for Daniel Dingle in 2014-15.

Through Temple’s first 11 games, the redshirt sophomore had started in each contest, averaging career bests in both points (10) and minutes (26.7).

Since the Owls’ eleventh game, a road win over Delaware on December 18, the newfound eligibility of transfers Jesse Morgan (UMass) and Devin Coleman (Clemson) has bumped Dingle out of the starting lineup and further down the bench than he probably would have thought.

Tonight, however, the tides would turn for Dingle in a home matchup with University of South Florida as head coach Fran Dunphy finally provided him with the playing time he’s been yearning for since mid-December. And Dingle certainly played his part in a 73-48 Temple victory.

It didn’t take very long for the Bronx native to make an impact, knocking down a rhythm 3-pointer from the wing to bring Temple within one point of South Florida’s lead with just over eight minutes to go in the first half; the shot did not go unnoticed by Dunphy.

“I thought in all honesty the shot of the game was in the first half, we were down 14-10 and he [Dingle] made a big jumper that cuts the lead to one and it seemed like from that point on we sort of took off,” Dunphy said.

For the Owls, it was a timely shot that provided some much-needed momentum; for Dingle, it was his first points since scoring three against University of Central Florida five games ago.

“It felt good; it was a confidence booster,” Dingle said. “My number hasn’t been called in a while but when I get out there I know I just gotta prove myself to stay out there and help my team as much as I can.”

By night’s end, the Owls emerged with a rousing 25-point victory as Dingle finished with seven points and two rebounds in 16 minutes of action; his most points and minutes since the activation of Morgan and Coleman on December 18.

A major decrease in a player’s minutes might lead one to believe that his team has lost faith in him, but that doesn’t seem to be the case with Dingle and the Owls; senior point guard Will Cummings can attest to that.

“He’s getting back to himself, we just tell him to stay confident,” Cummings said. “When his time comes and coach puts him on the floor, he has to be ready to make shots.

“We saw a glimpse of that tonight, and we really just tell him, he’s always in the gym working hard, so when he gets his time we expect him to come out here and contribute like everybody else.”

When you play for a team that has 10 players who average double-figure minutes, it’s a constant battle to stay on the floor.

At 6-foot-7 and 235 pounds, Dingle brings a variety of different skills to the table at the forward slot. But with talented players like Morgan and Coleman added to the mix, he’ll have to do the ‘little things’ to earn back the playing time he became accustomed to early in the season.

“He’s a valuable person in our group and like a simple play like he made, the game is still in the deciding stage and he makes a great offensive rebound, tip out to Jesse [Morgan] and Jesse gets an open three,” Dunphy said. “Those kinds of plays, Dan can make, he did a good job on one of those rebounds as well and he made a nice drive to the basket another time.

“He’s a valuable guy; sometimes it means he’s going to play 8 minutes, sometimes it means he’s going to play 28, and I think he can handle it.”

Tonight’s win was not only a revelation for Dingle, but for Temple as well, ending a three-game skid and improving to 13-7 (4-3) on the season.

After knocking off then-No. 10 Kansas and defending national champion Connecticut in late December, the Owls found themselves at the top of the American Athletic Conference and were looking like a possible Top 25 team.

Now, Temple, like Dingle, is fighting to get back to where it once was.

“I think sometimes we got a little too comfortable with the winning streak, winning seven games or however many games we won in a row but…we can’t get comfortable,” Dingle said. “That smacking, the way Cincinnati beat us…that really woke us up.”

Dingle and the Owls will put their collective resolve to the test as they head south to take on another Florida-based program in University of Central Florida on Wednesday, Jan. 28.

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