TULSA– Temple (17-10, 11-4) fell to the Golden Hurricane of Tulsa (19-9, 11-5) by a score of 55-74 after an Owl’s second half performance that was as bad as any other game this season.
Just hours after ESPN’s Joe Lunardi listed Tulsa as the “First Four Out” of the 2016 NCAA Tournament, they showed they belong in the Tournament conversation.
Junior College transfer Pat Birt, who has recently emerged as a lethal scoring threat alongside two senior guards Shaquille Harrison and James Woodard, led all scorers with 23 points. He shot 7-15 from the floor to go along with 6 foul shots on 6 attempts.
Early on it was a game of runs. After trailing 10-11 with 12:36 in the first half, Temple exploded for a 15-2 run and reached their largest lead of the game of 12 points.
Obi Enechionyia continued his hot-streak as he led the Owls with 17 points on 4-6 shooting from beyond the arc. He went into the half with 12 points and went cold for the second half- along with the rest of the Temple team. Enechionyia is averaging 19 points per game in the last 4 contests. Leading scorer Quenton Decosey is on the opposite end of a hot-streak as he is averaging just over 10 points through that same span.
From that point, Tulsa went on a 18-4 run of their own and went into the second half leading 31-29. The Golden Hurricane went on to lead for the entire second half. “The second half we played outstanding,” Tulsa coach Frank Haith added after the game.
A Pat Birt jumper with 3:29 to go in the game that extended Tulsa’s lead to 16 ultimately put the game away for the Owls and deflated any chance of a comeback.
Temple remains atop of the AAC with 11 conference wins compared to 4 losses. They look ahead to 3 more regular season games- all conference match-ups, against UCF, Memphis and Tulane.