Temple University men’s basketball (15-10, 8-6, The American Athletic Conference) fell 78-64 to the University of Memphis (16-9, 10-5 The American) on Thursday evening. The loss dropped Temple to the fifth seed in the AAC standings.
The Owls’ foul trouble and a lack of defensive effort in the second half gave the Tigers a large enough lead to take over the game.
“Their interior game just caused a chain reaction for us,” said head coach Aaron McKie. “[Tigers’ freshman center] Jalen Duren was just commanding so much attention, and we just couldn’t take care of that interior.”
With 13 minutes remaining in the first half, the Owls took a 17-15 lead that they held until the final two minutes of the half, when two free throws and a dunk put the Tigers back on top.
Owls’ freshman guard Hysier Miller missed shots in the final seconds of the first half that could’ve put Temple ahead going into halftime, but they trailed 33-32 at the break.
Making up for those missed shots, Miller netted the first shot of the second half, giving the Owls a 34-33 lead.
However, the Tigers quickly responded with a two-point basket by Tigers’ senior forward DeAndre Williams, giving them a lead they held for the rest of the game.
The Tigers went on a 9-0 run late into the second half, amassing a 14-point lead. They also capitalized on the Owls’ misses at the free throw line, which ended up giving Memphis a 69-50 advantage.
Owls’ redshirt-freshman guard Damian Dunn tallied four points after making his second appearance since returning from injury, while freshman guard Jeremiah Williams scored four points after missing time with a shoulder injury. Freshman center Emmanuel Okpomo made his first appearance after being injured at the start of the season, totaling three points.
Owls’ freshman guard Jahlil White led the team with 17 points, and Miller was second with 16 points.
“It’s important, especially around this time when bodies start to get tired and people’s minds start to get tired,” Mckie said. “We wanna be able to play seven, eight guys at least and keep fresh bodies in there.”
Temple will return home to the Liacouras Center to host Tulane University (12-12, 9-6, The American) on Feb. 27 at 3 p.m.