The story line was familiar.
The Owls dug themselves a hole, they made a comeback attempt and then their opponent pulled away. That’s how most games have been going for Temple in American Athletic Conference play.
The tale remained the same on Saturday night as Houston took down the Owls 79-66 at Hofheinz Pavilion.
After breaking a three-game losing streak with a win against Memphis on Wednesday, the Owls (11-11, 2-7 The American) went back to their conference struggles on Saturday.
Temple trailed 43-33 at halftime and things didn’t get much better to start the second half. Cougars’ redshirt-senior guard Damyean Dotson hit a 3-point shot to put Houston up by 51-35 with 17:43 left in the game.
The Owls responded to the 16-point lead with an 8-0 run to cut the deficit to eight points. Junior forward Obi Enechionyia, who led Temple with 16 points on Saturday, hit a midrange jumper moments later to pull his team within five points.
Freshman guard Alani Moore scored a fastbreak layup with 11:16 left to finish off a 17-4 run by the Owls, bringing the score to 55-52.
The comeback was short lived.
Houston redshirt-junior guard Rob Gray’s 3-point shot at the 10-minute mark sparked an 8-0 run by the Cougars, and Temple was back down double digits less than two minutes later after another Dotson three. The Owls couldn’t cut the deficit to fewer than six points the rest of the way.
Gray and Dotson led the way for Houston in the win. Gray scored 28 points and added five assists and seven rebounds, while Dotson turned in a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Along with Enechionyia, redshirt-senior swingman Daniel Dingle and freshman guard Quinton Rose both reached double-digit scoring totals for the Owls. Dingle scored 15 points. Rose scored 11 points, nine of which came in the first half. He went 1-of-5 from the field during the last 20 minutes.
Sophomore guard Shizz Alston Jr. had scored 20 or more points in three straight games before Saturday’s loss. Alston went 3-of-9 from the field for nine points against Houston, including 3-of-8 from 3-point range.
The Owls kept most of their offense on the perimeter on Saturday. Temple went 10-of-32 from 3-point range. As a result, the Owls had six free throw attempts in Saturday’s loss.
Owen McCue can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @Owen_McCue. Follow The Temple News on Twitter @TheTempleNews and @TTN_Sports.