Owls’ turnover trouble extends five-game losing streak

Temple men’s basketball lost to Tulsa 72-66 in a game without redshirt-freshman guard Damian Dunn, its leading scorer.

Sophomore guard Khalif Battle attempts to make a basket during the Owls' game against the University of Houston at the Liacouras Center on Jan. 23. | COLLEEN CLAGGETT / THE TEMPLE NEWS

With seven minutes left in the second half, Temple University men’s basketball was down by 17 points. The Owls went on a 20-8 scoring run during the last six minutes of the game, but the hole they dug themselves proved too deep as the Golden Hurricane never relinquished their lead. 

Temple (4-9, 3-9 The American Athletic Conference) lost to Tulsa (10-9, 7-7 The American) 72-66 after falling behind early due to careless turnovers in the first half, extending the Owls’ losing streak to five games.

The Owls recorded 19 turnovers overall and were unable to find consistent offensive opportunities to score early in the first half. However, Temple’s bench kept them within striking distance, as they trailed by eight points at halftime. 

“They didn’t even pressure us, and we were just careless with the ball, we weren’t strong with the ball and we just turned it over,” said head men’s basketball coach Aaron McKie. “For a reason, I don’t know, it’s something we talk about every single day, it’s something I put on the board every single day about taking care of the ball.”

The Owls were without starter redshirt-freshman guard Damian Dunn due to an injury from a previous game. Temple’s leading scorer sat on the bench as sophomore guard Khalif Battle started in Dunn’s place.

Battle, who led the team with 21 points, started off the game strong with a 3-point shot assisted by freshman guard Jeremiah Williams. But Tulsa’s offense answered back immediately with a 3-point shot from junior guard and forward Austin Richie, who shot 2-for-4 beyond the arc in the game. 

Temple only made 6-of-18 shot attempts from the field in the first half. Tulsa, who plays zone defense, forced the Owls to take difficult shots inside the paint. 

Temple’s ability to draw fouls is one of their largest strengths, and they relied on it in the second half. The Owls made 9-of-13 shots from the line in the second half and shot 81 percent from the free-throw line for the game.  

Temple erased Tulsa’s largest lead of 18 points down to six to finish the game, as the Owls shot 60 percent from the field in the second half. Unfortunately, the younger players needed more time to find their rhythm on the offensive end of the court. 

Freshman guard Quincy Ademokoya showed his skills off the bench and was 2-for-2 in 3-point shots. Freshman forward Nick Jourdain saw some action in the second half in place of junior forward Jake Forrester, who was fouled out. 

Jourdain was a great option for the Owls to make moves from inside the arc. He scored four points and dished out three assists. 

Temple will not play this weekend, but the Owls will be back at the Liacouras Center on against South Florida (7-7, 3-5 The American) on Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. 

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