Temple University men’s basketball (14-15, 6-10 The American Athletic Conference) let one slip away to South Florida (13-16, 6-10 The AAC), losing 64-58 on Sunday afternoon.
The Owls led by seven after a field goal by junior forward J.P. Moorman II put them up 54-47 with six minutes and 25 seconds remaining. From that point, South Florida outscored Temple 17-4.
Temple’s only field goal after that was a three by senior guard Quinton Rose with four minutes and 10 seconds left.
This was the Owls’ third straight loss. In all three of these consecutive losses, they have had trouble scoring the ball down the stretch.
“I would say it’s mental,” Rose said.
The Owls also had a hard time coming down with rebounds down the stretch, including one possession that saw USF come down with four offensive rebounds.
The Bulls started the possession with three minutes and 17 seconds left and took 47 seconds off the clock before taking the lead at 58-57. Temple went 1-of-2 from the line in its next trip down the floor but USF took the lead and never gave it back.
South Florida’s height was something Temple struggled to defend, coach Aaron McKie said.
“I got to do a better job helping those guys,” McKie said. “If that means sending help, but just fighting and battling those bigs, I thought their bigs did a good job down there today.”
Despite their struggles, the Owls still had chances to retake the lead late in the game. They recovered an offensive rebound with 53 seconds left.
Due to the officials reviewing the play, the Owls had a chance to draw up a play. Redshirt-junior guard Monty Scott then missed a quick three, giving the ball right back to the Bulls.
“We wanted to try to get a quick two out of it and maybe foul right away,” McKie said.
Moorman also got an open jumper when Temple was down three with 17 seconds left but he missed as well. From that point on, USF iced the game at the free-throw line.
“I feel like towards the end of the game we got good looks,” Rose said. “Like [Scott] got a couple good looks, they just didn’t fall today. Normally those will go down.”
The Owls are hoping to not let their confidence slip despite these late-game struggles.
“We had control of the game at one point, like I said the last couple of games we haven’t been able to finish the game so I know I have all confidence in ourselves so I think we’ll be straight,” junior guard Nate Pierre-Louis said.