Early exit

moore
ABI REIMOLD TTN Redshirt-senior guard Ramone Moore led the Owls to the NCAA tournament as the No. 5 seed, but Temple lost in its opening game in the second round.

The Owls lost in the second round to the South Florida Bulls.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – For guards, redshirt-senior Ramone Moore and Juan Fernandez, and graduate center Micheal Eric, the team’s early exit in the NCAA Tournament signaled the end of their playing days at Temple.

“We just didn’t come out and do our job, and we got to put it on ourselves and too bad,” Moore said. “I can’t do anything about it now. It’s the end of my career. Just want these guys to learn from this experience and do better next year.”

The No. 5 Temple Owls fell to the No. 12 South Florida Bulls, 58-44, in the second round of the Midwest Region of the NCAA tournament on Friday, March 16 after posting its lowest tournament point total since its 65-43 second round loss in 1986.

The postseason appearance marked the Owls’ fourth-consecutive year the team earned a bid for the tournament. With the loss, Temple falls to 32-30 all-time in the tournament and 1-5 under coach Fran Dunphy.

It also marked the first time the program suffered back-to-back losses since consecutive defeats to La Salle and Dayton on Feb. 26 and Feb. 28, 2009, respectively.

In the first half, the Owls held an 11-point lead at 19-8 with about six minutes remaining, which was its largest lead of the game. But Temple failed to score another point in the half and South Florida went on a 7-0 run, cutting its deficit to 19-15 at halftime.

Before the Bulls’ offense kicked in toward the end of the half, the team went 0-for-22 during a span of about 10 minutes.

“We had our chances to expand our lead, and we didn’t get that done,” Dunphy said. “I don’t

think it was anything special that South Florida does. They just do a great job of keeping you in

front and battling all the time, and we didn’t respond like we needed to.”

South Florida did it with its defense in the first half, while shooting 11.1 percent from the

field and tying a season-low 15 points, which the Bulls previously scored on Feb. 4 against

Georgetown.

The Bulls improved their shooting to start the second half, going 10-for-13 from the field during

a 22-6 run, which gave them their largest lead at 39-25 at the 12-minute mark. The momentum

swung in favor of the Bulls and they held onto win and advance to the third round.

Offensive woes dismissed the Owls’ chances to defeat its long and athletic opponent. Fernandez

went 0-for-2 with a point recorded from the free throw line, Moore finished with five points and

Eric posted seven points. Junior guard Khalif Wyatt had a team-high 19 points.

As the season ended, Moore took the time to reflect on his career at Temple.

“It’s been great,” Moore said. “This man to my right I got give a lot of credit. He’s believed in

me the whole five years here. I’d like to thank Temple University to play here. It’s been great.

Still hasn’t hit me yet that this is my final game, but I’ve learned a lot. I love my teammates, and

I’m going to miss these guys.”

Connor Showalter can be reached at connor.showalter@temple.edu.

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