This one’s going to hurt a bit.
The men’s basketball team held an 11-point lead with 9:27 left to play against Providence Thursday, but saw its advantage vanish into a 66-64 loss at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Classic Thursday.
With nine seconds remaining, Mark Tyndale trotted the ball up court, where he then drove to the basket and missed a layup as time expired. But that possession isn’t what killed Temple (0-2). Rather, the Owls’ play throughout the final nine minutes did.
The Owls led, 58-47, about halfway through the second half, courtesy of an improved defense and strong offensive output from guards Dionte Christmas and Semaj Inge, who notched 19 and 15 points, respectively. But from there, they unraveled.
Providence (1-0) went on a 15-4 run to tie the game at 62-62 with 2:31 left. Brian McKenzie scored seven of his 12 points during that stretch while Dwain Williams added five of his team-high 17 points. The Owls shot 2-for-7 during that span.
With the score knotted, Temple called a time-out. Chris Clark then missed a jump shot and McKenzie grabbed the rebound. Once in the Temple zone, Clark fouled Jeff Xavier, who hit two free throws to hand the Friars a 64-62 lead.
Tyndale was then fouled on the floor by Alex Kellogg, but missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw set. The Friars rebounded and Geoff McDermott layed the ball in for a 66-62 Providence advantage with 50 seconds remaining.
On Temple’s ensuing possession, Christmas missed a three-pointer. The ball ricocheted off the rim and appeared to be headed out-of-bounds, but Lavoy Allen snagged it in midair and passed it back to Christmas, who layed it in to cut the Owls’ deficit to 64-62 with 44 seconds left.
To kill time, the Friars passed the ball around the zone, but air-balled their only shot, which landed them a shot-clock violation. From there Tyndale took over, missing the final shot and spoiling the Owls’ chance to knock off a Big East Conference opponent.
John Kopp can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.