In a American Athletic Conference rematch, the Temple Owls lost to the #4/3 Louisville Cardinals 60-50 in the KFC Yum! Center on Wednesday evening.
Louisville’s (24-2,12-1) victory comes after losing its first conference game against #1/1 Connecticut, and halts Temple’s (12-12,6-7) two-game winning streak. The Owls have now gone winless through six contests against nationally ranked opponents this year.
Junior guard Tyonna Williams led Temple in scoring, recording 12 points on five of ten shooting. No other Owl scored double figures, or made more than three shots.
Sophomore guard Erica Covile recorded a team-high 10 rebounds and five steals. Coming off of the bench, junior guard Rateska Brown scored eight points, accounting for two three point field goals.
Scoring a game-high 21 points for Louisville, senior guard Shoni Schimmel paced the Cardinal offense from both the floor and the free throw line. In addition to her seven shots, Schimmel also recorded a game-high six made free throws.
Redshirt senior forward Asia Taylor earned a double double, recording 14 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.
Through 40 minutes of play, Temple held a number of statistical advantages against Louisville like rebounds, shooting percentage, and bench points, but the Cardinals won the turnover and free throw battle, which would be the deciding factor.
For both teams, the game’s first two minutes were scoreless, filled with turnovers and misfired shots, but a Slaughter three pointer kick-started Louisville’s offense.
With nearly five minutes expired, a 5-0 start for the Cardinals became a 9-4 advantage, but Temple fought back by outscoring Louisville 8-2 in the following possessions. Temple’s freshman center Taylor Robinson scored on a inside jumper to give Temple a 12-11 lead with 10:46 remaining.
Inconsistent offensive flow on both sides kept the game tight for nearly nine minutes, but late in the first period, the Cardinals held a 20-19 lead, and a 7-0 run to close the half gave Louisville its largest lead of the game. At halftime, Temple trailed 27-19.
In the first half, 18 total turnovers were recorded by both teams combined, with Temple giving the ball away 11 times.
For the entire second half, the Owls would end up playing catch-up to no avail.
A layup by Taylor pushed the Louisville lead to 13 just over a minute into the period, but again, Temple would cut into the Cardinal advantage. Powered by two field goals from behind the arc by Fitzgerald and Williams, Temple outscored Louisville 10-3, making the score a 35-29 Cardinal lead.
At the 11:40 mark, with Louisville leading 42-36, another Robinson inside shot closed the deficit to four, which was the closest the Owls had come to tying the game since the first period.
But for Temple, the Cardinals would not allow the Owls to cut the lead any closer, as foul trouble and missed free throws plagued Temple down the stretch.
Though Temple scored 31 second half points compared to Louisville’s 33, the Cardinals 12 successful free throws compared to Temple’s lone make would be the difference in the final minutes. Overall, Louisville shot 12 of 26 from the charity stripe compared to 1 for 9 for the Owls.
Brien Edwards can be reached at email@example.com or on twitter @BErick1123