Temple University men’s basketball (11-7, 4-3, The American Athletic Conference) lost 69-61 to Southern Methodist University (16-4, 7-1, The American) on Saturday afternoon.After the Owls allowed the Mustangs to take a lead late in the second half that they never came back from.
“We gave them a little bit of life, let them see some buckets go away, you know, they took advantage,” said freshman guard Jeremiah Williams.
The Owls came out strong to start and kept up with the Mustangs’ fast-paced offense. Despite playing from behind for most of the first half, Temple kept the score close, trailing 31-28 at halftime after freshman forward Zach Hicks missed a 3-pointer with less than a minute left in the half.
Mustangs’ junior forward Franklin Agunanne played a big role in the first half by blocking shots and playing good interior defense. He finished with two blocks in the game, and senior forward Marcus Weathers finished with three blocks.
“Our game plan coming in was to get these guys off the three-point line, they’re one of the better teams in the conference at shooting the three,” said head coach Aaron McKie. “Just try to limit Kendrick Davis as much as we can. And I thought we did a good job of both, we just didn’t do a good job of handling weapons.”
Eight minutes into the second half, Temple worked to take the lead for the first time since the first two minutes of the contest. A 3-point shot by Williams gave the Owls a 44-42 lead.
As things started to heat up and the Owls found their offensive spark, the Mustangs scored back-to-back buckets.
With the game tied 46-46 at the nine-minute mark of the second half, Hicks made a 3-pointer, putting the Owls ahead once again.
The Mustangs quickly responded with a dunk by freshman guard Zhuric Phelps and went on a 13-0 run.
Mustangs’ senior guard Kendric Davis knocked down a 3-pointer, making it a 10-point game. The Owls managed to cut the deficit to eight points but got no closer.
The Owls will take on East Carolina University (11-8, 2-5 The American) on Feb. 2 at 7 p.m. in Greenville, North Carolina.