At the start of the second half, the University of Central Florida went on 8-0 run, erasing Temple University men’s basketball’s one-point lead. The Owls never recovered from the seven-point deficit.
“You got to score points to win, and we’re not doing that,”said head coach Aaron McKie. “Our guys are just not playing with the confidence that I know that they play with.
The Owls (6-4,0-1, The American Athletic Conference) fell 65-48 to the University of Central Florida (7-2,1-0, The American) on Wednesday night, losing their first conference game of the season and scoring a season low in points.
The loss comes days after the Owls recorded just 49 points against Saint Joseph’s University on Dec. 11, their second lowest of the season.
Temple is getting the right looks, but the team’s failure to make shots has been a continuous struggle since redshirt-sophomore guard Khalif Battle, who averaged 21.4 points per game, suffered a season-ending foot injury.
Both ends of the court had a sloppy start, but Temple’s defense kept the Knights at bay, holding them to 19.35 percent from the field in the first half.
Temple scored a season low of 19 points at the end of the first half.
The Owls fell behind less than a minute into the second half after Knights’ junior guard Darin Green Jr. drew a foul on freshman guard Quincy Ademokoya while shooting a 3-pointer. After making three free throws, the Knights were up 21-19.
“That’s a good experienced team,” McKie said. “I knew the lid would come off the basket for them at some point, but it came off for those guys, and it didn’t come off for us.”
A steal by Knights’ fifth-year guard Darius Perry turned into a five-point scoring spree for Knights’ fifth-year guard Brandon Mahan, giving them a seven-point lead.
Temple freshman forward Nick Jourdain quickly responded, netting a 3-pointer and cutting the Knights’ lead to four points.
However, with back-to-back fouls — one being a technical — on Owls’ freshman guard Jeremiah Williams, Temple couldn’t keep up with the Knights.
“Everyone individually has to look themselves in the mirror, go back to the drawing board and, you know, just figure it out,” Williams said. “ There’s no secret formula to it. We just gotta go to the gym, work on it and put out our best everyday.”
Temple will host Drexel University (5-5,0-0 The Colonial Athletic Conference) on Dec. 18 at 2 p.m. at the Liacouras Center.