NCAA

Instant Replay: No. 25 SMU 66, Temple 50

Instant Replay: No. 25 SMU 66, Temple 50

BOX SCORE

Shizz Alston Jr. stole a pass from Sterling Brown on the wing and found a trailing Quinton Rose at the other end of the court for an emphatic alley-oop dunk.

The play brought Temple within 11 points of No. 25 SMU on Thursday night, providing a much-needed offensive spark for the Owls early in the second half.

However, it wasn't nearly enough to ignite Temple, which threatened the nationally-ranked Mustangs only twice before falling, 66-50, at the Liacouras Center.

Temple climbed as close as six points with 7:54 remaining, but Semi Ojeleye, who had a game-high 30 points to go with 10 rebounds, hit the next two shots to restore order for the Mustangs. Ojeleye's second basket gave SMU a 57-48 lead with 4:56 left and the Owls never came within single digits again.

Conference struggles 
Temple dropped another conference game, making it 4-8 against AAC opponents this season and 13-12 overall. The Mustangs, on the other hand, have not had trouble in league play, improving to 11-1 in the AAC and 21-4 overall.

The Owls started off conference competition losing six of their first seven games. Last season, they were regular-season AAC champions, finishing with a 21-12 record. But this season, they sit in eighth place in the conference.

Dunphy's squads at Temple have finished worse than third place in the conference only two times since he became the head coach in 2006.

Top 25 opponents
With the loss to SMU, the Owls fell to 2-4 against AP Top 25 opponents this season. After beating Florida State and West Virginia in the NIT Season Tip-Off, they've gone 0-4.

Temple has lost to Villanova and Cincinnati twice.

Technical foul
Rose was called for one — which was his fourth foul of the game — midway through the second half after he was apparently mouthing off to Brown.

Inside the box score
• Ojeleye dominated the Owls from all over the court. The redshirt junior and Duke transfer shot 8 of 16 (50 percent) from the field, including 4 of 8 from three-point range. He also had two assists, a block and a steal.

• Rose provided the spark the Owls needed off the bench. The freshman recorded 12 points on 5 of 11 shooting. He also had a couple emphatic dunks on the night.

• Alston, the Owls' leading scorer, had 13 points, three assists and three steals. He was also 3 of 10 from beyond the arc.

• Temple turned the ball over 16 times, leading to 17 points for the Mustangs. Daniel Dingle had six of the miscues.

• SMU entered shooting the three ball at 40 percent. But on Thursday, it shot 23.5 percent from three. Temple was slightly better at 26.7 percent.

• After scoring 20 points in five of the first seven games, Obi Enechionyia's struggles continued for the Owls. He posted eight points on 3 of 11 shooting.

First half
SMU started a 16-3 run with 12:14 to go in the first half off a Brown jumper to take a 28-18 lead at the break.

Ojeleye led all scorers in the opening 20 minutes with 13 points on 3 of 6 shooting.

Temple couldn't get in a rhythm offensively, shooting 24 percent from the field. The Owls had two stretches in which they didn't score a bucket in over five minutes. 

SMU's full-court press also caused problems for Temple's young guards. The Owls turned the ball over 11 times in the first half, leading to 11 points for the Mustangs.

Rose led the Owls in scoring with seven points off the bench.

Whats's next
Temple will travel to play Memphis for a 2 p.m. game on Sunday at FedExForum. The Owls beat the Tigers, 77-66, on Jan. 25 at the Liacouras Center.

Knicks will reportedly reach out to Jay Wright about coaching job

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Knicks will reportedly reach out to Jay Wright about coaching job

Fresh off a second national championship in three years, this was bound to happen. Jay Wright is a hot name. 

And according to the New York Daily News, the Knicks plan on reaching out to Wright about their vacant head coaching job. 

Just don’t expect Wright to be interested. 

The 56-year-old coach has been determined to build Villanova into a powerhouse since he took the head coaching gig way back in 2001 and he’s finally done that. On the surface, maybe some think that would be enough to make him want to take his coaching to the top league in the world. Not so fast. 

In a recent interview with The Athletic, Wright said pretty flatly that he’s staying at Villanova because he loves it there. 

“The NBA does intrigue me,” Wright said. “That challenge is appealing but it’s not worth giving up working with these guys. The whole thing is, to take a new challenge you have to give up what you have. I don’t want to give up what I have. Would I like to coach in the NBA? Yes. But I have to give this up in order to do that, and I don’t see that happening.”

In that interview, Wright talked about his time at Hofstra and quoted Jim Valvano, who once said, ‘Don’t mess with happy.’ That was true at Hofstra until the Villanova job came around, so maybe there’s a chance the Knicks could blow him away. It just doesn’t seem likely. 

The Knicks just fired head coach Jeff Hornacek after a 29-53 record in 2017. The Knicks haven’t had a winning record since 2012-13. 

The New York Daily News cites a source, who said the Knicks believe Wright would be a “perfect candidate for a rebuilding club.” The Knicks might be right, but don’t bet on them getting Wright. 

Jalen Brunson hires agent, declares for NBA draft

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Jalen Brunson hires agent, declares for NBA draft

Villanova is losing its second star player in two days. 

Guard Jalen Brunson has decided to hire an agent and enter the 2018 NBA Draft, he wrote in a letter to Nova Nation on ESPN. He will forego his senior season at Villanova after an incredible college career. 

This news comes a day after his teammate Mikal Bridges announced he will also head to the NBA draft.

“It is with great honor and privilege that I have called Villanova University my home for the past three years,” Brunson wrote in ESPN. “When I decided to commit to Coach Jay Wright and the basketball program, I was driven by three goals: getting my education, competing at the highest level and winning a national championship. While I pride myself on remaining disciplined and focused to achieve these goals, I have grown as a man and have established lifelong relationships with my teammates, classmates, members of the basketball staff, fellow student-athletes and the wonderful educators and administrators of this prestigious university.”

Brunson leaves Villanova as one of the greatest players in Wildcats history, helping lead Villanova to its second national championship in three years. 

The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 18.9 points, 4.6 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game this season. Brunson was named the Big East Player of the Year and was the Wooden Award and Naismith Award winner this season.