First half shooting woes hurt Owls in loss to Harvard

The Owls shot less than 30 percent from the field in the first half of their 73-62 loss to Harvard University on Thursday in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Temple started slow for the second straight game on Thursday. The Owls used a fourth-quarter comeback to defeat Quinnipiac University on Sunday, but could not catch up to Harvard University in a 73-62 loss to the Crimson at the Lavietes Pavilion in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

For the second straight game, Temple failed to score more than 25 points in the first half. Temple only scored 23 points and trailed by nine at halftime after shooting less than 30 percent from the floor and less 20 percent from the 3-point line.

Junior guards Alliya Butts and Tanaya Atkinson combined for 12 of the 23 points in the first half. Butts scored seven of her 15 and Atkinson scored five of her team-high 19. Atkinson also grabbed eight of her team-high 12 rebounds in the first half.

In Temple’s comeback win against Quinnipiac, the team relied on its 3-point shooting in the second half, making 50 percent of its threes in the final 20 minutes. Temple shot 39.4 percent in the second half, but couldn’t keep pace with Harvard’s 51.7 percent efficiency from the field.

To combat the slow starts, Temple has relied on its defense to keep games close, but the Owls have allowed 70 or more points in four of their five games.

“In the half court we’re just not being solid defenders so we have to create havoc,” coach Tonya Cardoza said. “We have to just try and get out and run, and with two bigs on the floor it is hard to do.”

Temple continued to rely on the trio of Butts, Atkinson and senior guard Feyonda Fitzgerald. The three guards all played 35 minutes or more.

The two bigs that played the most for Temple were freshmen Shantay Taylor and Shannen Atkinson. The pair of freshmen played 16 minutes each. Shannen Atkinson didn’t score in the game but finished with seven rebounds, while Taylor scored nine points with two rebounds.

“We’ve been trying to give the bigs more and more looks,” Cardoza said. “I like to let the two freshmen see what is happening with the game, and so far this season I’ve liked what I’ve seen from them.”

The Owls allowed 36 points in the paint and 14 second chance points on Thursday. Temple looks to bounce back on the defensive end of the floor at McGonigle Hall against the University of Vermont Sunday afternoon.

“Everything we’re doing wrong we can fix ourselves,” Cardoza said. “It’s mostly just effort and things that we can control, like getting back defensively, not letting open threes. When we those things right we can win games.”

Kevin Schaeffer can be reached at pr on Twitter @_kevinschaeffer.

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