Temple University men’s basketball (14-16, 6-11 The American Athletic Conference) closed out its home schedule Wednesday with one of its worst shooting performances of the season, losing to Tulsa (21-9, 13-4 The AAC) 61-51 at the Liacouras Center.
The Owls shot 17-of-57, which translates to 29.8 percent, from the field and 6-of-26 on three-point attempts.
Coach Aaron McKie said when the team misses shots, it affects its defensive strategy.
“I thought we were flat,” McKie said. “When the ball’s not going in the hole for us on the offensive side, we lose our focus on the defensive side.”
Temple’s 51 points are tied for their second-lowest scoring night of the season. Their only worse outing came when the Owls lost 70-44 against Tulsa on Jan. 3.
Many of the Owls’ best opportunities came from second chances. Senior center Damion Moore grabbed six offensive rebounds and tied his season-high in scoring, notching nine points.
That success did not translate to Temple’s guards, as seniors Quinton Rose and Alani Moore II combined to shoot 5-of-21 on field goals.
“We just didn’t convert,” McKie said. “Sometimes when you get offensive rebounds and kick them out, it gives you an extra possession. It’s another way you can generate offense.”
Tulsa’s tight defense and physicality caused the Owls’ guards to struggle driving to the rim and often forced them to take outside shots.
“[Tulsa] takes you out of whatever it is you want to do,” McKie said. “They make you uncomfortable and they try to force you to beat them from the perimeter. But you have to find a way to get in those creases and get layups.”
McKie also blamed a lack of efficiency in transition for Temple’s scoring woes.
“We had so many unforced turnovers that for me were just head scratchers,” McKie said. “When we don’t convert in transition, it really affects us.”
Despite the shooting struggles, McKie says he’s still confident about the team’s chances in its regular-season finale on Saturday in Cincinnati (19-10, 12-5 The AAC) and the upcoming American Athletic Conference Tournament.
“We get another opportunity,” McKie said. “You want to be playing your best basketball, which we are not, at this particular point, but if we go into Cincinnati and [win] we can see what happens from there.”