It was a Sunday matinee at The Liacouras Center where Temple took on the Cincinnati Bearcats in front of a loud and raucous crowd.
Temple led for majority of the game but with 5:24 remaining Keith Williams hit a three-pointer to give Cincinnati the lead for the first time. Temple didn’t have enough firepower down the stretch to overcome the Bearcat comeback.
The Owls lose this one 72-68 and drop to 15-5, 5-2 in conference play. Temple started out the game fast just as they did against Memphis. A 7-0 run to start, and Cincinnati didn’t see the bottom of the basket until there was five minutes gone in the first half.
Quinton Rose picked up right where he left off to start the game hitting two big three-pointers and a big fast-break lay-up that put the Owls up 30-19 at the time and brought the entire crowd to their feet as Cincinnati called a timeout.
The Owls defense was excellent in the first half, smothering the Bearcats forcing multiple shot-clock violations and a variety of heavily contested jumpers in, and outside the lane. Cincinnati shot just 33% and was 0-7 from beyond the arc in the first half. Whereas Temple shot 42% and hit seven of 16 three-pointers in the first half. The Owls entered the locker room at halftime up ten, 35-25.
When the second half started, Shizz Alston Jr. hit a three-pointer and it looked like Temple had the same groove from the first half. On the other end however, Cincinnati would make their first three-pointer of the game with about 15 minutes remaining in the game. Momentum was quickly starting to shift.
As Ernest Aflakpui got into foul trouble, Coach Dunphy was forced to sit the big man. This allowed the Bearcats to feast off the glass. That was the biggest difference maker in this game, rebounding, Temple got out-rebounded 46-22 with Cincinnati grabbing 16 offensive rebounds compared to just three for Temple.
Momentum had completely shifted thanks to some continuation calls going the Bearcats way. With about 3:04 remaining in the game, the Owls found themselves down six points and it turned into a battle at the free throw line.
That, too, was a big difference maker in the game. The Bearcats made 25 of 37 free throws whereas Temple only made 19 of their 31 attempts. Quinton Rose shot a mere 6-12 from the stripe and that hurt the Owls down the stretch.
Despite the loss, J.P. Moorman was huge for the Owls off the bench. He had a career high 20 points on 8-11 shooting and 3-5 from beyond the arc. Also contributing was Shizz Alston Jr. (18) and Quinton Rose (16). A big hit to the Owls offense today was Nate Pierre-Louis shooting just 3-12 and 0-3 from beyond. “We weren’t tough enough, simple as that, ” J.P. Moorman said after the game despite having a career high.
“We got to learn how to put teams away,” said Shizz Alston Jr.
Next up for the Owls they’ll travel down to Houston to take on the 17th ranked Cougars who are 19-1. That contest will be on Thursday January 31st at 7PM on ESPN2.