South Florida sophomore forward Michael Durr made a layup to give his team the lead with two minutes and 30 seconds left. Durr’s layup gave the Bulls their first lead in more than nine minutes. Before Durr’s layup, the Bulls grabbed four offensive rebounds in the same offensive series to retain possession.
Late second-chance opportunities for South Florida (13-16, 6-10 The American Athletic Conference) led it to a 64-58 win against Temple (14-15, 6-10 The AAC) Sunday afternoon at the Liacouras Center.
After Temple led 54-47 with six minutes and 25 seconds left to play, South Florida ended the game on a 17-4 run.
“It was just a killer for us,” coach Aaron McKie said. “We’re the type of team that we can’t recover from those things. We almost have to play a perfect game in order to be successful and we just didn’t do that.”
Durr scored all four of South Florida’s second-chance points in the second half, all of which came in the last two minutes and 30 seconds of the game. After redshirt-senior guard LaQuincy Rideau missed a jumper, Durr grabbed the offensive rebound and was subsequently fouled. Durr made both of his free throws to put the Bulls up 60-58 with one minute and 56 seconds left.
The Bulls outrebounded the Owls 39-36. Even though the two teams both recorded 26 defensive rebounds, the Bulls had a 13-10 advantage in offensive rebounds.
Senior center Damion Moore, who is six feet, 11 inches, only played three minutes in the second half and 11 minutes overall. The Owls once again used a small-ball lineup for most of the game. After Moore, the Owls’ tallest players who received playing time were senior guard Quinton Rose and sophomore forward Jake Forrester, who are both six feet, eight inches.
“I thought their bigs did a good job,” McKie said. “Durr and [senior forward Antun] Maricevic, they did a good job. They converted most of the opportunities they got down around the basket. We just gotta keep fighting and just gotta maybe sometimes just disguise our coverages a little bit and send some help and take them out of their rhythm.”
The Owls also struggled to make their shots down the stretch. Overall, Temple made just 36.4 percent of its shots from the field and 38.1 percent from the three-point line. After shooting 40 percent from both the field and the three-point line in the first half, the Owls shot 33.3 percent from the field and 36.4 percent from beyond the arc during the last 20 minutes.
“The name of the game is putting the ball in the basket,” McKie said. “We gotta find ways to be able to do that and we just haven’t been able to do that over these stretch of games that we lost.”
The Bulls shot slightly better from the field at 37.3 percent. Despite winning the game, South Florida shot worse at the three-point line than Temple at 35 percent.
Bulls junior guard Justin Brown led the team with 13 points while shooting 4-of-9 from the field. Brown converted on 3-of-6 shots from behind the arc. Brown also recorded nine rebounds, just one short of a double-double.
Durr added 12 points on 4-of-9 shooting from the field. Durr also recorded seven rebounds and three blocks.
Junior guard David Collins added 11 points and seven rebounds while shooting 3-of-12 from the field. Maricevic contributed 10 points and four rebounds on 5-of-6 shooting from the field.
For Temple, senior guard Quinton Rose had 13 points on 4-of-12 shooting from the field. After only scoring three points in the first half, Rose finished with 10 points in the second half. Rose also recorded seven rebounds.
Junior guard Nate Pierre-Louis added 12 points and 12 rebounds to finish with a double-double. Pierre-Louis also recorded a career-high seven assists, finishing just three assists short of a triple-double. Rose and Pierre-Louis were the only Temple players to score in double figures.
Next, Temple will play in its last home game of the season against Tulsa (20-9, 12-4 The AAC) on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Liacouras Center. Tulsa previously beat Temple 70-44 on Jan. 3 in Oklahoma.
Even though Temple let South Florida make a comeback, Pierre-Louis is confident the team can bounce back against the Golden Hurricane.
“I have all the confidence in ourselves,” Pierre-Louis said. “I think that we’ll be straight.”