No. 16 Utah holds off late push from young Owls

The Owls lost to the University of Utah, the No. 16 team in the AP Top 25 Poll, 74-68 at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Tournament in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

With 3:10 remaining in the Owls’ 74-68 loss Sunday to the University of Utah, freshman guard Levan Shawn Alston, Jr. hit a three-point shot to give his team its first lead of the second half.

After the Utes reclaimed the lead on their following possession, fellow freshman guard Trey Lowe cut down the baseline and used a two-handed dunk to put the Owls back on top.

Alston and Lowe combined for 15 points as Temple (1-3) lost to Utah—the No. 16 team in the AP Top 25 Poll—in the third place game of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Tournament in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Coach Fran Dunphy chose to play the pair down the stretch despite their youth.

Utah sophomore center Jakob Poeltl led the way for the Utes, scoring 17 points in the first half and finishing with 32 points. He made four free throws down the stretch to secure the win for Utah.

Redshirt-junior guard/forward Daniel Dingle stepped to the line with 16 seconds left and an opportunity to tie the game. With his team down 70-68, Dingle missed both free throw attempts.

Sunday’s contest was the Owls’ third game against a Top-25 opponent in four games this season. It was also the team’s third loss against a Top-25 opponent.

The team started its season with a 91-67 loss to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill—the No. 1 team in the AP Top 25 Poll. After a win against the University of Minnesota in the first round of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, the Owls fell to No. 22 Butler 74-69 Friday.

Temple had a large disadvantage at the free-throw line for the second straight game. Utah made 26-of-34 free throws as Temple made 6-of-9 shots from the charity stripe.

Poeltl also had a game-high 11 rebounds as the Utes outrebounded Temple 42-36, including 10 offensive rebounds. Opponents have outrebounded the Owls in all three of their losses this season.

After scoring 24 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in the loss to Butler Friday, senior guard Quenton DeCosey led the Owls in scoring with 14 points in Sunday’s loss.

Sophomore forward Obi Enechionyia added 13 points and Alston contributed nine points.

Senior forward Jaylen Bond, who had a combined 32 points in the team’s past two games, tallied four points against Utah. Bond got into foul trouble in the second half and played a season-low 13 minutes.

Owen McCue can be reached at or on Twitter @Owen_McCue.

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