Senior guard Will Cummings led all scorers with 21 points, while sophomore forward Mark Williams grabbed 9 rebounds, but Temple fell to the University of Nevada-Las Vegas Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn by a score of 57-50.
Two minutes passed before either team entered the scoring column, as junior guard Quenton DeCosey rattled home a 3-point basket at the 18-minute mark in the opening half. DeCosey would finish the contest as the Owls’ second-leading scorer with 11 points.
UNLV, who entered the contest at 2-1 after falling to Stanford by a tally of 89-60 Friday night, struggled out of the gate, turning the ball over six times in the first half. Temple never trailed in the opening 20 minutes of play, but started the second half by missing seven consecutive shots, and finished with a field goal percentage of 24.1 percent.
The Running Rebels took advantage of the Owls’ shooting woes, earning their first lead of the Coaches vs Cancer Classic at the 19:21 mark in the second half, courtesy of sophomore forward Christian Wood’s 3-pointer.
Temple was unable to defend inside as UNLV edged the Owls in points in the paint by a tally of 26-14. This was especially apparent in the second half, as Wood converted down low several times, scoring 16 of his team-high 18 points after halftime.
The Owls were also unable to convert from behind the arc, shooting 19 percent from 3-point land. UNLV shot 46.2 percent from 3-point range, with senior guard Cody Doolin leading the way with a pair of long-range buckets.
Meanwhile, Wood had success on both ends of the court, collecting 13 rebounds and four blocks, both of which were game-highs.
A key point in the game came with under a minute remaining. Redshirt sophomore guard Daniel Dingle appeared to have a clear path to a loose ball, but UNLV freshman guard Patrick McCaw snuck around him, scooped the ball up, and ran the length of the court for an easy layup to make it 53-48 UNLV with 50 seconds left in regulation.
Aside from Cummings, who made six out of 14 shots from the field, no Temple player was able to contribute much offensively. Dingle shot 1 of 7 from the floor, with all of his attempts coming from behind the arc. DeCosey converted on three of his 11 shots, while junior forward Jaylen Bond hit 2 of 5 shots en route to five points.
The loss marked the second time the Owls were unable to shoot 25 percent from the floor. UNLV cemented the victory by making 7 of 8 second-half free throws, after shooting 33.3 percent from the charity stripe in the opening half.
Temple will look to earn its third win of the season when it returns home to the Liacouras Center to face the University of Pennsylvania on Tuesday night.
Steve Bohnel can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @Steve_Bohnel.