The Owls eight point first half lead did not result in a Temple victory as the SMU Mustangs won 67-58 Wednesday night in Texas.
Coming off a 63-51 triumph over the ECU Pirates last Saturday, the Cherry and White were feeling high and mighty in anticipation of playing the number one team in the AAC. Coached by former Philadelphia 76ers and NBA Finals Champion Detroit Pistons Larry Brown, the Mustangs use a stingy defense to pressure teams.
Temple stormed out of the gate on a 7-2 run highlighted by a Quenton DeCosey triple. PF Ben Moore cut the deficit to just one at 9-8. Coming off the bench, freshman Obi Enechionyia and sophomore Josh Brown both knocked down threes to put the Owls up 17-10 with 11:11 to go in the first half.
An SMU scoring drought allowed the Owls to add to their advantage. Senior Jesse Morgan drained a three from the top of the key to give the Owls an eight point lead that the team would take heading into the break.
Scoring was hard to find early in the second half as both teams combined for just a field goal apiece for the first 4:27. Jaylen Bond got it started for the Owls dropping in the first four points in the half for the Cherry and White.
SMU stampeded back on a Sterling Brown layup to allow the Mustangs to hold ground.
Junior Nic Moore was a changed man in the second half. The diminutive point guard went on a personal 7-0 run to put SMU up for the first time in the game at 46-43.
Redshirt sophomore Daniel Dingle emphatically answered with an and-one to tie the game at 46. Morgan gave the Owls the lead with a three and Enechionyia subsequently followed with a dunk to give the Owls a three point advantage.
Ryan Manuel sank a three to tie the game at 52 and SMU would dominate shortly thereafter. Jesse Morgan hoisted an ill-advised three on the next possession that was classified as “the worst shot of the year under the circumstances”.
SMU went on a seven point run and held on going 8-8 from the charity stripe in the late portion of the contest. Moore finished 6-12 from the field for 18 points and added in three steals. Will Cummings led the Owls with 14 points and off the bench, Enechioyia and Brown added eight points a piece.
Temple (19-8, 10-4) remains third in the AAC while #21 SMU (22-5, 13-2) look like a lock to finish the regular season in pole position.