Temple holds off Cincinnati to keep bowl hopes alive

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USA Today Images

Temple holds off Cincinnati to keep bowl hopes alive

BOX SCORE

CINCINNATI -- Temple was able to keep its bowl hopes alive and make its senior class the most successful in school history.

Junior Frank Nutile threw for one touchdown and ran for other, Isaiah Wright had a 98-yard kickoff return and Temple kept its bowl hopes alive with a 35-24 win over Cincinnati on Friday night.

"We would rather die out there than let our seniors down," Nutile said.

With two games left, the Owls need one more victory to become bowl eligible. One more win and the senior class will be the best all-time.

"Our seniors are special. I'm lucky I got to be their coach," first-year coach Geoff Collins said. "They've gone through a lot with this program. A lot of them had to wait their turn."

The Owls (5-5, 3-3 American) held off an inspired second-half effort by Cincinnati (3-7, 1-5) to get the win.

Hayden Moore threw a 29-yard pass to Thomas Geddis and Mike Boone had 28- and 21-yard runs on consecutive plays to make it a one score game with 7:40 left in the third quarter but Wright took the kickoff back 98 yards to separate the Owls from the Bearcats. Wright then threw a two-point conversion pass to Nutile on a trick play.

"For the first time I told the guys I'm disappointed with the way we coached; disappointed with the way we prepared the," Cincinnati's first-year coach Luke Fickell said. "It is baffling to me. The defense can play really well in the first half and have really big stops in tough situations. The offense doesn't move the ball in the first half. In the second half it completely flips. We have to find a way to break through some of this stuff."

Nutile completed 19 of 30 passes for 224 yards.

"He studies film and works hard," Collins said. "You could see it on several key plays tonight. He is a great kid."

David Hood's one-yard run midway through the second quarter gave Temple a 13-0 halftime lead. Hood was Temple's leading rusher with 89 yards on 19 carries.

Hood has spent most of the season backing up Ryquell Armstead.

"I look at myself as the No. 1 back every week," Hood said. "Our offense really came together tonight."

Cincinnati had a 76-yard punt return called back for an illegal block in the back and fumbled to set up one of Aaron Bourmerhi's two first half field goals.

Hayden Moore completed 20 of 36 passes for Cincinnati and was the leading rusher with 75 yards on 11 carries.

Takeaways
Temple: Ventell Bryant moved into eighth place on Temple's all-time list for receptions with 117. His 62 yards r and yards receiving also put him eighth on the list with 1,721. . With the win, Temple's seniors tied the team record of 31 wins by a class. ... The Owls faced two triple option offenses in a row before coming to Cincinnati. Army rushed for 248 yards on Oct. 21 but they held Navy to 136. Cincinnati split the difference with 184 yards rushing.

Cincinnati: Luke Fickell and Geoff Collins are both in their first season as head coach. Both were on the defensive coaching staff at Alabama for the 2007 national championship season. . Cincinnati has lost nine of its last 10 AAC games.

Up next
Temple will host Central Florida at noon on Nov. 18. The undefeated Knights will be the final home opponent for the Owls, who need one more win to be bowl eligible.

Cincinnati will travel to East Carolina on Nov. 18 at a time to be determined. The Pirates and Bearcats are at the bottom of the AAC standings.

Temple surrenders late lead in 81-74 loss to No. 20 Cincinnati

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USA Today Images

Temple surrenders late lead in 81-74 loss to No. 20 Cincinnati

BOX SCORE

CINCINNATI — Trailing after an ugly first half, No. 20 Cincinnati put together one of its best stretches of the season and got its ninth straight win.

Kyle Washington scored 10 of his 16 points in the second half, leading the 20th-ranked Bearcats to an 81-74 victory over Temple on Wednesday night that kept Cincinnati perfect in American Athletic Conference play.

The Bearcats (16-2, 6-0) trailed by six points before Washington made two one-handed shots over defenders during a decisive 17-5 run that put them ahead to stay. Cincinnati went 17 of 23 from the field in the second half and led by as many as 13 points.

"We had some tremendous performances in the second half especially, unprecedented execution," coach Mick Cronin said. "If you're going to win a lot of games in a row, you've got to win different ways. You've got to be able to adjust."

Cincinnati took control by getting the ball inside to Washington and Gary Clark, who had seven points and eight assists.

"We had a little bit of miscommunication at times," Temple coach Fran Dunphy said. "We didn't do a great job inside. They did just about everything they needed to do."

The Bearcats extended their best winning streak in three seasons and completed a series sweep of the Owls (10-10, 1-6).

Troy Caupain had 18 points and seven assists for the Bearcats, including seven free throws in the closing minutes. Four players finished in double figures after a sluggish first half in which Cincinnati shot only 33 percent from the field.

"Before we started the second half, (Cronin) told us we're a veteran team and we're going to be in situations like this," Washington said. "We're on a pretty good roll, our starting five especially coming together. It was ugly at first, but we really prevailed."

Shizz Alston, Jr., led Temple with 25 points for the second game in a row, matching his career high.

Obi Enechionyia made a 3-pointer, a dunk and a 15-foot jumper as Temple opened a six-point lead at the start of the second half, its biggest of the game. Washington then led the decisive run by scoring on two shots near the basket.

Big picture
Temple: The Owls have been prone to bad first halves, but that wasn't the case this time. They led 28-26 at the break despite having nine turnovers and no offensive rebounds.

"We think we're a second-half team," Alston said. "I felt strongly we were going to win because we were up by two at halftime, but the ball didn't bounce our way."

Cincinnati: The Bearcats have won their last 19 home games, their longest such streak since taking 19 in a row from March 2, 2013 through Feb. 15, 2014. Their last home loss was 77-70 to Temple in their league opener last season.

Poll implications
A ragged win over a struggling Temple team won't much help the Bearcats. They don't play a currently ranked team until next week, when they host crosstown rival Xavier, which is ranked No. 22.

Clean game
There were only six fouls in the first half and six free throws. Temple didn't pick up its first foul until there was 7:43 left before halftime.

First time
The Owls wasted a good offensive showing. They shot 53 percent from the field, the best by any opponent against the Bearcats this season. They had been 9-0 when scoring at least 70 points this season.

Up next
The Owls have a week off before hosting Memphis next Wednesday. They split their series last season, with each team winning at home.

The Bearcats play at Tulane on Saturday. They beat Tulane 92-56 at home on Jan. 1.

Temple falls to No. 23 Cincinnati in conference opener

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The Associated Press

Temple falls to No. 23 Cincinnati in conference opener

BOX SCORE

Gary Clark scored 11 points, including two important free throws with 14.9 seconds left, and No. 23 Cincinnati overcame a poor shooting game to beat Temple 56-50 on Wednesday night.

Jacob Evans III also scored 11 points for the Bearcats (11-2), who shot 32.8 percent (19 for 58) from the field and 27.8 percent (5 for 18) from 3-point range.

Daniel Dingle scored 15 points to lead Temple (9-5). Alani Moore II and Shizz Alston Jr. added 10 points apiece from the Owls, who also struggled from the field.

The game was the American Athletic Conference opener for both teams. The Bearcats were picked to win the conference in the preseason while Temple, the defending regular-season champion, was chosen sixth.

Cincinnati averaged 102.7 points per game over a three-game winning streak, but the Bearcats didn't look like they would get to even 50 points the way they were playing early in the second half.

After shooting 35.5 percent in the opening half, Cincinnati missed its first six shots of the second half and Temple took its biggest lead, 33-29, on Dingle's three-point play with 16:24 left.

But Cincinnati recovered and used a 10-0 run midway through the half to go up 47-39 with 7:30 remaining on Tre Scott's dunk. Temple missed six shots, five of which were 3-point attempts, during the Bearcats spurt.

Temple pulled within 52-50 on Dingle's drive with 1:31 remaining. Troy Caupain appeared to make it 54-50 on a bank shot with 56.9 seconds left but officials determined that the shot didn't beat the shot clock after video review.

Evans then blocked Dingle's 3-point attempt that would have put the Owls ahead, but it remained a two-point game when Clark missed both free throws with 31.5 second left. But Dingle then committed Temple's 16th turnover by throwing the ball away and Clark all but sealed the win with two free throws to make it 54-50 with 14.9 seconds left.

Temple played without senior guard Josh Brown for the third straight game and ninth overall this season due to an Achilles' injury.

The Owls finished 16 for 60 (26.7 percent) from the field and 5 for 26 (19.2 percent) from 3-point range.

Big picture
Cincinnati: The conference road victory over Temple will look good come March for the Bearcats. Cincinnati has made six straight NCAA Tournament appearances.

Temple: Leading scorer Obi Enechionyia struggled for the second straight game. After scoring a season-low three points on 1-for-11 shooting his last time out in an 83-77 win over Yale on Dec. 22, Enechionyia had seven points on 3-for-10 shooting against Cincinnati. The Owls will need Enechionyia to rediscover his offensive game to have any chance of repeating as regular-season conference champions.

Up next
Cincinnati: Hosts Tulane on Sunday night.

Temple: Visits Central Florida on Saturday afternoon.