Cincinnati redshirt-senior forward Tre Scott made a dunk with two minutes and 20 seconds left to give his team a one-point lead. After a missed shot by Temple senior guard Quinton Rose, Bearcats senior guard Jarron Cumberland made a layup to extend the lead to three.
The back-to-back shots by Scott and Cumberland started an 18-10 run by the Bearcats to end the game. Cumberland scored 14 of his 22 points in the final two minutes to lead Cincinnati (12-7, 5-2 The American Athletic Conference) past Temple (10-8, 2-5 The AAC) 89-82 Wednesday night at the Liacouras Center.
“He’s a good player,” Rose said. “I’ll give him credit. He did a good job swinging by.”
Before the Bearcats’ run, Temple and Cincinnati played in a back-and-forth game that featured seven ties and 10 lead changes. Temple led by as many as five points with 11 minutes and 41 seconds remaining in the game.
“I thought Temple really played well,” Cincinnati coach John Brannen said. “They made shots. They were aggressive. Their game plan coming in terms of how they attacked us was something we needed to adjust to.”
The Owls lost despite shooting better than the Bearcats. The Owls shot slightly better from the field at 53.4 percent compared to the Bearcats’ 52 percent from the field. The three-point percentage margin was wider as the Owls made 64.3 percent of their shots from behind the arc while Bearcats only made 39.1 percent of their threes.
Despite the improved shooting performance, coach Aaron McKie was not pleased with his team’s performance.
“It’s still a loss,” McKie said. “Offensively, we played better, but we gotta get consistent with the way we wanna offensively and defensively. We can’t be a roller coaster ride where one day you’re really good defensively and offensively you’re not that great. We just gotta find some middle ground.”
Rose led the Owls with a season-high 26 points. Rose made 8-of-13 shots from the field and four of his five three-point attempts.
Junior guard Nate Pierre-Louis also scored a season-high 22 points in 37 minutes of play. Pierre-Louis made 9-of-15 shots from the field.
Senior guard Alani Moore II added 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field in 34 minutes of play. Moore also shot 4-of-6 from behind the arc. Rose, Pierre-Louis and Moore combined for 62 of the Owls’ 82 points.
Bearcats junior center Chris Vogt was the team’s second-highest scorer with 18 points, with 16 of his points came in the first half. Scott added 16 points and 11 rebounds to record a double-double. Scott shot 7-of-12 from the field and recorded five assists.
Graduate student guard Jaevin Cumberland recorded 15 points. All four of the shots he made from the field were behind the three-point line. Junior guard Keith Williams added 10 points, making 4-of-8 shots from the field.
Temple’s defense changed its game plan to better guard Vogt, which gave other players opportunities, Brannen said.
“They made our entries more difficult, but that opened up the floor for the other guys,” Brannen said. “We got other guys that made plays. That helped. We tried getting in there, but they did a good job of taking it away.”
With the loss, Temple has now dropped five of its last six games after starting the season 9-3. Next, Temple will take a break from conference play to take on Big 5 rival Penn (7-7, 0-2 The Ivy League) on Saturday at 2 p.m. at The Palestra.