Temple University men’s basketball (3-4, 2-4, American Athletic Conference) fell by a score of 68-51 to #8 Houston (13-1, 8-1, The American) this afternoon in a game the Owls never led, snapping their two-game winning streak.
Houston delivered a well-rounded offensive effort featuring three players with at least 14 points and high-caliber defense that kept the Owls’ offense in check. Houston created a deficit in the first half that proved to be insurmountable, outscoring the Owls 36-21 in the first 20 minutes of play.
“We played nowhere near what we’re capable of playing like,” said Temple men’s basketball head coach Aaron McKie.
Sophomore guard Marcus Sasser was crucial in the Cougars’ first half performance, scoring 11 points in the first 20 minutes. Sasser made all three of his first-half 3-point attempts, helping keep the Cougars’ offense rolling. Sasser finished with 15 points in addition to his three assists.
Perhaps most impactful was redshirt-senior forward Justin Gorham, who scored 14 points and pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds. Gorham’s scoring and rebounding were key for the Cougars.
Junior guard Quentin Grimes, who scored eight points in the first half and finished with 15, was also key in Houston’s victory. Like Gorham, Grimes impacted the game in more ways than one, also contributing nine rebounds and three assists.
After allowing such a significant deficit, the Owls were unable to find their footing for more than a few minutes at a time.
There were some positives on the Owls’ side, as junior forward Jake Forrester had a strong performance, scoring nine points to go with four rebounds on 4-5 shooting from the field in the first half. Forrester finished the contest with 15 points and eight rebounds.
“I’m feeling pretty confident about my offensive game,” Forrester said.
But as a team, the Owls made just 18 of 53 field goal attempts, including five of 20 3-point attempts. Removing Forrester, those numbers shrink to 12 of 46 field goal attempts, or 26.1 percent.
Among those who struggled were redshirt-freshman guard Damian Dunn, who missed all but one of his 10 shot attempts, and sophomore guard Khalif Battle, who made just four of his 15 field goal tries.
“I had some shots that I know I can make,” Battle said. “As time continues, I know I’ll make those shots.”
The Owls’ next contest will take place on Jan. 26 at the Liacouras Center against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane (8-5, 5-3 The American).