Turnovers, poor 3-point shooting hurt Temple in loss to Missouri

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Turnovers, poor 3-point shooting hurt Temple in loss to Missouri


PHILADELPHIA — For Dru Smith and Missouri, it’s been hard not to dwell on a stunning home loss to Charleston Southern earlier this week.

Only thing to do was take it out on the next team on the schedule.

Javon Pickett scored a season-high 16 points off the bench and Missouri snapped a three-game losing streak, beating Temple 64-54 on Saturday night.

Smith added 12 points and six rebounds for the visiting Tigers (5-4), whose loss to Charleston Southern on Tuesday was one of the worst of coach Cuonzo Martin’s tenure.

“Obviously it’s been on our minds,” Smith said. “It’s something we had to learn from. We had to move on. There’s a lot of season left in front of us. I think we did a good job today using that as fuel and coming out and playing much better.”

Quinton Rose led the way for Temple (6-2) with 16 points, 10 of which came in the first half. The Owls committed a season-high 19 turnovers, including an overthrown pass in transition with a minute to go to dash any comeback hopes. They also shot 2 for 21 from 3-point range.

“They didn’t really pressure us; we were just careless with the ball,” Rose said. “Maybe it is a lack of focus. We’ll figure it out.”

Trailing by six early in the second half, the Owls reeled off the next 12 points to take their first lead since they were up 4-2. The run began with a Monty Scott 3-pointer and included a Jake Forrester dunk that electrified a previously frustrated Liacouras Center crowd.

Forrester, an Indiana transfer who had to sit out the first four games until getting cleared to play by the NCAA, finished with 11 points in his first home game for the Owls.

Pickett helped Missouri fight back to tie the game at 47-47 with eight minutes remaining, and the Tigers took the lead 53-52 on a Jeremiah Tillman transition dunk with four minutes to go. Mark Smith’s 3-pointer put the Tigers ahead 57-52 with 2:53 left, and Xavier Pinson helped close out the win with a driving layup in the final minute.

The Tigers outscored the Owls 15-2 over the final six-and-a-half minutes.

“I think we’re as good as any team in the SEC,” Martin said. “But you have to do it on the floor every night. It’s one thing for me to believe it. They have to understand and believe it. And this was a great win for us against a very talented team.”

Temple had more turnovers (11) than made field goals (eight) in the first half to fall behind 33-27 at halftime. No one on the Owls besides Rose scored until Forrester hit a free throw more than eight minutes into the contest.

Can't open the Pickett fence 

Martin credited Pickett for putting the defensive clamps on Rose, Temple’s top scorer, in the second half.

“I wouldn’t be shocked if he spends 10 years in the NBA,” the Missouri coach said of Rose. “And I thought Javon really embraced that challenge. He’s not an easy guy to defend.”

Martin also praised the energy Pickett brings off the bench, which is a role the sophomore says has helped him.

“I feel more relaxed,” said Pickett, who started 31 games as a freshman last season. “Coach all the time is telling me to be myself. I feel like I’m starting to be myself more.”

Big picture

Missouri: The Tigers avoided the slow starts that had been plaguing them, leading for most of the first half before staging their winning rally midway through the second half. They also scored a measure of revenge on an Owls squad that beat them in a thriller last year at Mizzou Arena, 79-77.

Temple: Despite Saturday’s setback, the Owls are showing promise under first-year coach Aaron McKie, who replaced Fran Dunphy. Their only losses have come to power conference teams, No. 3 Maryland and now Missouri, while they’ve beaten another Southeastern Conference squad, Texas A&M, and also Southern California on the road.

Up next 

Missouri: The Tigers return home to face Southern Illinois on Dec. 15.

Temple: The Owls host Saint Joseph’s on Tuesday in one of Philadelphia’s most intense rivalry games.

Shizz Alston's clutch free throws ice Temple win over Missouri

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Shizz Alston's clutch free throws ice Temple win over Missouri


COLUMBIA, Mo. — Fran Dunphy's last season as Temple's coach produced a November to remember. The Owls calmly held off a late Missouri charge to win 79-77, claiming their third victory over a Power 5 conference opponent this season after previous wins over Georgia and Cal.

"Just a very good win for us," said Dunphy, who is retiring after his 13th season at Temple. "To come on the road and play a program like Missouri is a tremendous opportunity for our group, and we sustained our good effort throughout."

Quinton Rose scored 18 points, Shizz Alston finished with 15 points, De'Vondre Perry added 11 points and Ernest Aflakpui grabbed 12 rebounds for the Owls (6-1).

Temple outscored Missouri 16-4 in the final 3:20 of the first half to open a 42-32 halftime lead. The Tigers (3-3) got within two points in the final two minutes thanks to outstanding outside shooting — they were 11 of 19 from 3-point range — but the Owls never gave up their lead after intermission.

"Alston is a good player, and we felt as a staff that the middle ball screen with him - because he's shifty and can make shots and make plays - we felt like that was the biggest concern," Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin said. "He found guys in the corner, and some guys made shots."

Mark Smith led Missouri with 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting, Kevin Puryear added 16 points and Jeremiah Tilmon had 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Clutch free throws
Missouri's Jordan Geist hit a 3-pointer to cut the Temple lead to 77-75 with 14 seconds left. The Tigers fouled Alston, who made both free throws to secure the game. Alston, who had made all 17 free throws he had attempted entering the game, was just 1 of 3 from the foul line against Missouri before his crucial makes.

"He's as good a foul shooter as I think there is in the country, and I was surprised that he missed any of them," Dunphy said. "He's automatic, usually. So when he got fouled, that was a good thing for us. He's a real solid player and a guy you want the ball in his hands at crunch time."

Turning point
The Owls forced four turnovers in in the final 3:20 of the first half. Temple entered the game ranked seventh nationally with 10.5 steals per game, and Missouri entered with a minus-2.2 turnover margin. As expected, turnovers hurt the Tigers, who committed 15 while forcing only five.

"We're not going to beat good teams turning the ball over 15-plus times a game. . We can't have that," Puryear said. "We've got to be focused with the ball. We've got to be tough with the ball. We've got to see all of our passes through."

Big picture
Temple: The Owls' stars played like stars, even when their shots weren't falling. Rose made just 1 of 6 3-pointers, but he made four steals and dished three assists. Alston shot just 5 of 17 from the field but had six assists and no turnovers.

Missouri: Tilmon, a sophomore forward, has been an enigmatic player early in his career, often taking himself out of games with foul trouble or going for long stretches without grabbing a rebound. He didn't have a single rebound in the first half but came alive after the break to finish with 10. Missouri needs that performance consistently if it is going to compensate for the loss of star forward Jontay Porter, who tore his ACL in the preseason.

"We talk to him all the time: `You have to rebound the ball. You have to control that area,'" Martin said. "I thought he did a better job in the second half. With him, he's got to be assertive. His strength is being vocal, being active, rebounding the basketball, running the floor. If he scores the ball, great, but he has to bring those things to the table."

Up next
Temple: The Owls return to Philadelphia for a game at Saint Joseph's on Saturday.

Missouri: The Tigers will face a second straight American Athletic Conference opponent when UCF visits Mizzou Arena on Sunday. Temple was picked to finish sixth in the AAC by the league's coaches, while UCF was projected to win the league.

NBA draft profile: Missouri F Michael Porter Jr.

NBA draft profile: Missouri F Michael Porter Jr.

Michael Porter Jr.

Position: Forward 

Height: 6-10

Weight: 211

School: Missouri

The last couple of years have been a bit of a whirlwind for Porter. 

After starring in high school in his hometown of Columbia, Missouri, Porter transferred to Nathan Hale High School in Seattle to play his senior season under former NBA star Brandon Roy. Porter’s father, Michael Sr., was then hired as an assistant at the University of Washington, which led the son to commit to the school.

The plan seemed like it was all coming together … until it wasn’t. Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar was fired, which caused Porter Sr. to jump ship and take a job as an assistant at the University of Missouri where another son, Jontay Porter, was committed.

Following much thought, Michael Porter Jr. joined the rest of his family at Missouri. However, the good vibes didn’t last long.

Just two minutes into his collegiate debut, Porter suffered a back injury. He later had a microdiscectomy to repair his back and was able to return for only a pair of contests in the SEC and NCAA Tournaments.

In all, the consensus No. 1 overall prospect coming into the year was limited to just three games and 53 minutes during his lone disappointing season in college.

The first thing you notice about Porter is his size. At 6-10 and patrolling the wing, he presents a massive matchup nightmare for most opponents.

That’s mainly because Porter can fill it up. He’s very smooth and polished on the offensive end, which was displayed when he averaged 36.2 points per game as a senior in high school.

Also, when you were once viewed as the No. 1 overall prospect in your class, you bring elite-level confidence to the court. “I know without a doubt that I'm the — I played against all these guys, they're all great players — but I'm the best player in this draft," Porter said at the NBA draft combine earlier this month.

At this point, the top issue regarding Porter is his health. It’s not often you see 19-year-olds undergo spinal surgery.

As far as on the court, Porter can stand to put some weight on his slender frame, improve his defensive technique and he tends to rely on his jump shot too much at times.

NBA comparison
It’s far too easy to see the size and skill set of Porter and link him to Kevin Durant. But that’s not at all a comparison I’m prepared to make.

We’ll go with another Porter, as in Washington Wizards swingman Otto Porter Jr. Both are lanky wings that prefer to pull up over their opponents with range that extends to the three-point arc.

How he'd fit with Sixers
For a team that couldn’t consistently get outside shooting and was victimized by the Boston Celtics’ length in the Eastern Conference semis, Porter would appear to fit like a glove. He would easily be able to spot up for jumpers in the Sixers’ pace-and-space offense and add another long body for foes to work around on the other end.

Draft projection
Porter’s lost season in college makes his exact draft spot a bit of a question mark. He has all of the talent to go at the top, but should fall somewhere in the mid-lottery.