George Washington University graduate forward Tyler Cavanaugh saw the ball bang off the back of the rim then pumped his fist.
He was lying on the court after trying to draw a charge with 5.3 seconds left as the Owls had one last possession to try to tie Wednesday’s game and send it to overtime. Temple started the possession with 8.2 seconds left, but George Washington fouled the Owls to force them to inbound the ball again.
Redshirt-senior swingman Daniel Dingle’s deep 3-pointer missed the mark and the Owls’ five-game winning streak came to an end with a 66-63 loss to the Colonials at the Liacouras Center.
“It was a great look, it just didn’t drop. …I just missed the last shot,” Dingle said.
After trailing by as much as 15 points in the second half, the Owls tied the game at 61 with a 9-0 run from the 2:45 mark to the 1:31 mark. It started when Dingle’s drive to the paint got blocked and sophomore guard Shizz Alston Jr. corralled the loose ball in the corner. He passed the ball to senior guard Josh Brown, who made a 3-pointer from the left wing. Dingle then made back-to-back 3-pointers to tie the game.
Cavanaugh then made two free throws and a 3-pointer to put the Colonials up by three before Dingle’s miss at the buzzer. Cavanaugh led George Washington with 20 points and was a perfect 7-for-7 from the free throw line.
“I helped off for a slight second, that’s all he needed,” Brown said of Cavanaugh’s go-ahead basket. “I give props to that guy hitting a tough shot, but I could have just stayed and not even help and give him a good look.”
To open up the second half, George Washington made six of its first seven attempts, including back-to-back jumpers by freshman center Collin Smith, who had 11 points on 5-of-10 shooting.
Sophomore guard Jordan Roland then made a step-back jumper on the left wing with Dingle guarding him extending George Washington’s lead to 13, 44-31.
George Washington shot 47.2 percent from the field and 50 percent from 3-point range on the night. The Colonials took their largest lead when they went up 52-37 with 10:46 left.
“We’re not good enough defensively right now,” coach Fran Dunphy said. “We need to really work like crazy on the defensive end. Those numbers are no good. Overall, our defensive numbers are not good. Tonight, 9-for-18 on threes. We got to be in the low 30s giving up three point jump shots.”
With 10:12 left in the first half, Dingle made a backdoor pass to senior forward Mark Williams, who was cutting to the basket. The senior forward caught the pass cleanly, but missed the layup. The Owls had more points off turnovers and in the paint in the first half, but trailed by six after 20 minutes.
Temple only trailed by two points at the 8:51 mark, when both teams made substitutions.
George Washington brought Roland and freshman guard Jair Bolden into the game. Roland drove past freshman guard Quinton Rose for a left-handed layup then made a hop step layup from the right side on the Colonials’ next possession to force coach Fran Dunphy to call a timeout to try to stop the Colonials’ 9-4 run. Roland came into play averaging 4.3 points per game, but exploded for 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting Wednesday.
Junior forward Obi Enechionyia made a 3-pointer out of the timeout to stop the run. He shot 50 percent from the field in the first half for 10 points. Enechionyia didn’t score his first points of the second half until he made two free throws with 8:42 left to cut Temple’s deficit to eight points.
He finished with 12 points, seven rebounds, five blocks and a steal before fouling out with 3:41 left in the game. Rose played for less than two minutes in the second half. Dunphy said Rose cramped up.
In his third game back in the lineup, Brown played a season-high 24 minutes. He shot 4-of-5 from the field and scored 10 points. Dunphy said he was “terrific” on Wednesday night.
Temple’s next matchup is on Saturday in Miami against DePaul University in the Miami Hoophall Invitational. The Owls are undefeated in their two games at a neutral site. Temple is 6-3 and has four more games before it begins its conference schedule.
“I think we’re right where we want to be, not too high, not too low, in between,” Dingle said. “Knowing that we can beat anybody and also knowing that we can lose to anybody.”
Evan Easterling and Tom Ignudo can be reached at email@example.com.