Temple headed down to balmy South Florida hoping for another upset conference win Tuesday night, and instead came up empty.
The Bulls were powered by a 15-3 run in the opening minutes of the second half and knocked off Temple, 64-51, en route to their third conference win of the season.
Temple’s 4-0 lead out of the gate proved to be their largest advantage of the night before a 14-2 South Florida surge propelled the Bulls to a 21-12 lead midway through the first half.
After Temple (8-6) came out of the halftime break facing an eight-point deficit, the Owls used a 9-4 run to pull within three at 40-37 early in the period.
That’s as close as they would get, though.
The Bulls (8-7) shot back with an ensuing 15-3 run of their own to extend the lead to a commanding 55-40 margin, and would cruise the rest of the way.
Freshman guard Feyonda Fitzgerald led the Owls with 17 points on 5-of-13 shooting (38 percent) and hit a pair of three-pointers in the losing effort.
Natasha Thames knocked down 12 points and led the team with 11 rebounds.
Both teams shot 36 percent from the field, but the glaring difference of the game was South Florida’s 20-for-31 performance from the free throw line, compared to Temple’s 8-of-14 clip. Temple racked up 24 fouls to add to its troubles in that particular department, while South Florida registered 17 personals.
The Bulls also outrebounded the Owls, 47-36.
The loss marked Temple’s second defeat in American Athletic Conference play, while South Florida improved to 3-1 in the conference.
The Owls will head up to Bridgewater, Conn. on Saturday to take on Norristown native Geno Auriemma and his No. 1 Connecticut squad. The Owls will tip off with the undefeated Huskies at noon.
Andrew Parent can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @daParent93.