Temple Owls

Temple flops in biggest game of season

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Temple flops in biggest game of season

BOX SCORE 

In its biggest game of the season, Temple had its biggest flop.

With their NCAA Tournament at-large hopes dangling over a precipice, the Owls were smoked by visiting Houston, 80-59, on Sunday at the Liacouras Center.

Quinton Rose and Nate Pierre-Louis scored 13 points apiece for Temple (15-12, 7-8 American), which had won seven of its last nine coming in with the only losses in that stretch to nationally ranked teams (Wichita State, Cincinnati) on the road.

Corey Davis Jr. had a game-high 20 points for Houston (21-5, 11-3), which has now won five straight, including a massive win over No. 5 Cincinnati on Thursday, and is challenging the Bearcats and Shockers for the league title.

• It sounds cliché but Houston just seemed to want it more, outhustling Temple to loose balls and dominating on the glass by a ridiculous 53-22 margin. Not surprisingly, there were smatterings of boos from Temple fans when the final horn sounded.

• Considering the urgency of the game, Temple was very flat from the start with Houston’s Davis hitting two tough three-pointers to spark an 8-0 start for the visitors.

• The Cougars built their lead to 15-0 as Temple fans, standing until the Owls scored their first basket, grew impatient and implored head coach Fran Dunphy to change the lineup.

• Finally, Temple got on the scoreboard when Obi Enechionyia threw down a big dunk with 13:36 left in the first half. But fittingly, Davis hit a jumper just moments later and the red-hot Cougars kept their foot on the gas to increase their lead to 34-11 with 7:30 left.

• Houston led by a staggering 24 points at the final media timeout of the first half and took a 21-point lead into halftime after an Enechionyia three-pointer in the final seconds.

• Temple shot 31 percent in the first half, and it seemed even uglier with several of the Owls’ shots missing the rim entirely.

• The biggest first-half difference was rebounding as Houston held a 31-9 advantage and an 11-1 edge on the offensive boards. On one especially excruciating possession for Temple, Houston got a couple of offensive rebounds before Davis drilled a three right in front of the Temple bench.

• With Temple showing a little more life to start the second half, the Cougars promptly sucked it back out of them with star senior Rob Gray hitting a big three to put them up 47-24 with 16 minutes left.

• With 13 minutes left, the Cougars had doubled up Temple’s score (54-27), and then went ahead 59-27 on Davis’ sixth three-pointer of the game. Temple fans had very little cheer for from there. Houston’s a good team but it’s not easy to explain how the surging Owls could lose a game this badly to anyone at home.

• Houston actually had far more turnovers than Temple, 17-10.

• Temple lost at Houston, 76-73, back in December, and is now 2-7 all-time vs. the Cougars, including a 1-4 mark in Philadelphia.

• Houston is chasing just its second NCAA Tournament berth since 1992 and its first since 2010. The Owls, meanwhile, are in danger of missing two straight Big Dances for just the second time since Fran Dunphy took over in 2006. Thanks in large part to a great strength of schedule and their recent hot streak, the Owls were on Joe Lunardi’s “Next Four Out” in ESPN’s bracketology but this loss — and a sub-.500 conference mark — will certainly drop them even further off the bubble.

• The best celebration of the day came in honor of Hooter the Owl’s birthday, with mascots from around the city coming to the Liacouras Center to pay their respects. But those vibes didn’t extend to the game as Temple dropped to 12-1 all-time on its mascot’s birthday.

• Temple plays its final home game next Sunday vs. UCF before closing the regular season with road games at UConn and Tulsa. But even if they win out, the Owls still likely need to win the American Athletic Conference tournament to get into the NCAAs.

Shizz Alston Jr. hits game-winning free throw as Temple pulls off dramatic win over South Florida

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Shizz Alston Jr. hits game-winning free throw as Temple pulls off dramatic win over South Florida

BOX SCORE 

TAMPA, Fla. — Shizz Alston Jr. had 24 points, including the game-winning free throw, as Temple narrowly defeated South Florida 70-69 in overtime on Saturday night.

South Florida's LaQuincy Rideau tied it at 69 with a layup with 11 seconds left in overtime before Alston made 1 of 2 free throws for the final score. The Bulls' David Collins missed two free throws with one second to go.

Nate Pierre-Louis had 14 points for Temple (19-7, 9-4 American Athletic Conference), including two free throws that tied it at 59 to force overtime. J.P. Moorman II added eight rebounds.

Temple trailed 23-20 at halftime, a season low for first-half points.

Rideau had 16 points for the Bulls (17-8, 7-6). David Collins added 15 points and Xavier Castaneda had 11.

The Owls improve to 2-0 against the Bulls for the season. Temple defeated South Florida 82-80 on Jan. 12. Temple plays Tulsa at home next Saturday. South Florida matches up against Houston on the road next Saturday.

Shizz Alston Jr. drops 28 points as Temple picks up big win over SMU

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Shizz Alston Jr. drops 28 points as Temple picks up big win over SMU

BOX SCORE

Shizz Alston Jr. had 28 points as Temple topped SMU 82-74 on Wednesday night.

Nate Pierre-Louis had 16 points and nine rebounds for Temple (18-7, 8-4 American Athletic Conference). Quinton Rose added 15 points. J.P. Moorman II had nine rebounds and seven assists for the hosts.

Jahmal McMurray had 22 points for the Mustangs (12-12, 4-8), who have now lost five games in a row. Ethan Chargois added 17 points and eight rebounds. Isiaha Mike had 14 points and 11 rebounds.

Temple faces South Florida on the road on Saturday. SMU plays Connecticut at home next Thursday.