Temple opened its season last year with a win against Florida at the Liacouras Center. On Saturday, the Owls had the lead against the Gators after three quarters.
Then Florida got hot. The Gators, ranked No. 19 in the Associated Press Top 25, shot 78.9 percent from the field in the final 10 minutes to beat the Owls 83-76 at the Patriot Gym in Ocala, Florida.
The Owls drop their first game of the year after wins against Big 5 rivals St. Joseph’s and La Salle.
The Gators made 9-of-10 field goal attempts to start the fourth quarter on an 18-2 run. Five of the baskets came on layups in the paint. More than half of the Gators’ points came in the paint and 24 came on fastbreaks.
The Gators outscored Temple 57-46 in the second half. Sophomore guard and forward Eleanna Christinaki, one of four players to score in double figures, scored 18 of her 21 points in the final 20 minutes. Junior forward Haley Lorenzen added 19 points and seven rebounds and senior forward Ronni Williams added 18 points and six boards.
Senior guard Feyonda Fitzgerald and junior guard Tanaya Atkinson struggled from the field in the first half, combining to shoot 2-for-13 and score nine points. Junior guard Khadijah Berger made up for their shooting struggles. She scored all 12 of her points in the first half.
Temple returns home for a contest on Nov. 27 at 2 p.m. against Quinnipiac University.
Evan Easterling can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Evan_Easterling.