Lackadaisical, sloppy, out-of-sync, careless.
Whatever you want to call it, that’s what the men’s basketball team was Wednesday night at the Liacouras Center in the team’s home opener.
The Owls lost to Miami (Ohio), 68-52, as Redhawks senior guard Michael Bramos torched the Cherry and White for 26 points, including six 3-pointers.
In addition, the Owls got just 11 points from senior guard Dionte Christmas, as the team captain shot 3-12 from the field and 3-10 from beyond the arc.
On top of that, Temple (3-3) shot just 34 percent from the field in the first half and hit only two 3-pointers in 12 attempts in the second half.
All told, it was a poor effort for coach Fran Dunphy’s squad.
“We’re little bit in panic mode at this point,” he said. “So we need to slow down and take things as they came and work harder.”
Christmas agreed with his coach.
“We’re definitely not where we’re supposed to be right now,” Christmas said. “Offensively, we’re there. But on the defensive end we’re giving up way too many points and easy shots.”
Part of that was attributed to sophomore forward Lavoy Allen’s limited playing time.
Due to a thumb injury, Allen came off the bench and played 16 minutes. He was a game-time decision and didn’t even practice for the past 10 days.
Allen finished with five points and four rebounds.
“We wanted to get him a little bit of a look,” Dunphy said. “We wanted to give him some run. I’m not sure we wanted to give him [16 minutes], that was a few too many.”
Though Allen, who was noticeably hampered by the thumb and wore a protector during game action, didn’t seem to think it was that big of a deal.
“I didn’t feel pain or anything,” Allen said. “[The injury] just restricted my movement a little bit.”
Even with a limited Allen, the Owls, who were trailing for most of the first half and by as many as 12 in the second half, cut the Miami led to as little as two points with 14:30 to go in the contest.
But after that, the Redhawks went on an 11-3 run to give them some breathing room.
Another late Owl charge, this time with under three minutes to go, was squashed by a 3-pointer from Bramos that led to disastrous final stretch where the Owls turned the ball over five times in 98 seconds.
“We were coming back, we were down two or three points, and those guys put the pressure on us again and we carelessly handled the ball,” Christmas said. “We should have taken better care of the ball, and we didn’t. And the end result is that we lost the game.”
The Owls turned the ball over 15 times in the contest, and besides Christmas, had just one player—senior center Sergio Olmos— who scored in double figures.
All that made Dunphy well aware that the road ahead will be a bumpy one for the Owls.
“We’re a little bit still [of] a work progress,” he said. “And we need a lot of work right now.”
Temple returns to action Saturday at 6 p.m. against Penn State. They return home Dec. 13 for a noon tip-off with No. 13 Tennessee.
The announced crowd of 5,029 featured a full student section, though they never really had a chance to get into the game…Freshman guard T.J. DiLeo got an eight-minute run in the first half…Junior guard Ryan Brooks shot just 4-10 from the field…The planned 7:30 start time was delayed due to the women’s basketball game beforehand taking longer than anticipated.
It was announced after the game that football coach Al Golden, who was contacted by Syracuse about their vacant coaching position, will not look into that job any further.
“Coach Golden has indicated that he is not interest in pursuing the position,” Director of Athletics Bill Bradshaw said.
Todd Orodenker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.