With 7:37 left in the second half, junior forward Obi Enechionyia stepped to the free throw line hoping to bring his team within six. Instead, Enechionyia missed the front end of a one-and-one, and Cincinnati sophomore swingman Jacob Evans hit a three to put the Bearcats up by nine.
Less than two minutes later, another basket and a pair of free throws put Cincinnati up by 13 on its way to an 81-74 win against Temple on Wednesday at Fifth Third Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The Owls made seven of their first 12 shot attempts on Wednesday, finishing 61 percent from the field in the first half. In comparison, the Bearcats made 33 percent of their shots in the first half. But both teams had 11 field goals made after 20 minutes of play.
Temple turned the ball over nine times and allowed nine Cincinnati offensive rebounds in the first half. A breakaway layup by freshman guard Quinton Rose with 20.6 seconds was the only thing separating the two teams at the break, as the Owls took a 28-26 lead into halftime.
The Owls continued their hot shooting into the second half. Temple made four of its first six shots of the second half to build a 37-31 lead with 16:52 left. That would be the Owls’ largest lead of the game. Cincinnati redshirt-freshman Tre Scott’s layup with 12:05 left in first half put the Bearcats up 44-42 for their first lead of the game.
As Cincinnati began to pull away, sophomore guard Shizz Alston Jr. kept the Owls in the game. Alston’s three with 9:06 left in the game cut the Bearcats lead to 53-51 before a 13-2 run by Cincinnati.
Alston, who was 4-of-15 from the floor in Temple’s loss to Cincinnati on Dec. 28, finished with 25 points and six assists for the Owls in Wednesday’s loss. He also scored 25 points against Tulsa on Saturday.
Redshirt-senior swingman Daniel Dingle made a three with 2:23 left to cut Temple’s deficit to six, but Bearcats’ junior Gary Clark converted an old-fashioned three-point play on the other end to dampen the Owls’ hopes of a comeback attempt.
The Owls shot 53 percent from the field for the game. Along with Alston, Dingle, Rose and Enechionyia all scored in double figures for Temple. Dingle and Rose each netted 12 points, and Enechionyia scored 11.
The Bearcats made 17-of-23 attempts in the second half. Cincinnati senior guard Troy Caupain flirted with a triple-double, scoring 16 points and adding seven assists and nine rebounds.
Coach Fran Dunphy’s team is now on a three-game losing streak and losers of six of seven games to start American Athletic Conference play.
Owen McCue can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @Owen_McCue. Follow The Temple News on Twitter @TheTempleNews and @TTN_Sports.