Owls struggle late in loss to SMU

The men’s basketball team traveled to Dallas this week as winners of seven straight, but was faced with the task of taking on No. 21 Southern Methodist on the road.

The Owls coughed up a double-digit lead to the Mustangs at the Liacouras Center on Jan. 14, but entered Thursday night’s contest in Dallas winners of seven straight.

Ultimately, the Mustangs were able to repeat a double-digit comeback at the Owls’ expense, outscoring the Owls, 42-25, in the second half en route to snapping Temple’s winning run with a 67-58 victory.

While the Owls led from the get-go and held a 10-point advantage early in the second half, senior guard Nic Moore helped fuel the Mustangs’ comeback with 13 second-half points. After Temple (19-8, 10-4 American Athletic Conference) extended the lead to a double-digit margin, the Mustangs 22-5, 13-2 The American) roared back with an initial 7-0 run, and extended it to a 17-4 stretch across a 6-minute, 17-second portion of the latter half.

Senior guard Ryan Manuel played another integral part of SMU’s comeback, first knocking down an initial 3-pointer to tie the game at 52 before he drained a baseline 3-pointer that extended the Mustangs’ lead to a seven-point margin with 1:22 remaining in the game. He finished with eight points.

The Owls opened the game with a putback from junior forward Jaylen Bond off a miss from senior guard Jesse Morgan, and held the lead for the entirety of the first half. Morgan, sophomore guard Josh Brown and freshman forward Obi Enechionyia each paced the Owls with six points apiece in a first period in which Temple averaged 48 percent from the floor. Morgan hit a pair of 3-pointers late in the half to help the Owls take an eight-point lead by the break.

Senior guard Will Cummings netted 10 points in the second half to lead the Owls with 14, while Bond paced Temple with 11 rebounds.

After having their way with the Mustangs offensively for much of the first half, the Owls struggled to score as the Mustangs buckled down on the defensive end during the second half, and finished at a 41 percent (22-for-54) clip for the game.

Though the Mustangs struggled from the free-throw line in the opening half, SMU’s 33 trips to the line made a difference, as the Mustangs finished 20 of 33 from the charity stripe compared to Temple’s 8-of-13 mark.

Enechionyia and Devontae Watson both compiled four fouls before the midway point of the second half, while Cummings and Bond also finished with four fouls apiece.

The Owls will look to split the two-game road swing Saturday, when they face Tulsa Saturday at 6 p.m. EST.

Andrew Parent can be reached at andrew.parent@temple.edu or on Twitter @Andrew_Parent23.

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