Temple can’t pull off upset, loses to FAU

Temple Men’s Basketball has now lost 10 games in a row after falling 80-68 against No. 24 Florida Atlantic on the road Thursday.

After cutting the lead the lead to two points, Temple Men's Basketball scored just four baskets the rest of the game, in its 80-68 loss against No. 24 Florida Atlantic Thursday. | NOEL CHACKO / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Throughout its nine-game losing streak, Temple Men’s Basketball made a habit of keeping games competitive. Nine of Temple’s 16 losses this season have been within single digits, and the team has struggled to close out games late.

Temple traveled down to Boca Raton, Florida, Thursday to take on No. 24 Florida Atlantic, which has dominated the American Athletic Conference standings while Temple remained in the basement. FAU sprinted out to a 16-point lead in the first half, but Temple battled within two points before FAU put the game out of reach with an 11-4 run.

Temple (8-17, 1-11 AAC) fell to FAU (20-5, 10-2 AAC) 80-68 on the road Thursday evening. Temple went scoreless for nearly four minutes of play in the second half and lost its 10th straight game.

Temple struggled to get going early, shooting just 44 percent from the field in the first half. Temple guard Jordan Riley took the lead for Temple, while the rest of the team struggled to find a rhythm. Riley scored eight of his 19 points in the first 20 minutes of play and added six rebounds, a block and an assist before the final whistle.

FAU pounced on Temple early, growing a 17-point lead behind guard Nick Boyd’s 12 first-half points. Guard Alijah Martin chipped in with 10 points as FAU shot 53 percent in the first half.

Temple clawed at FAU’s lead during the first 10 minutes of the second half. Riley scored six points in the first three minutes of action to cut the deficit to six, and center Sam Hofman knocked down two shots from behind the arc to keep Temple in the game. Suddenly, Riley slammed home a dunk, and Temple pulled within two points with eight minutes remaining.

Temple’s offense then went ice cold, only putting four shots in the basket the rest of the way, with two in the final three minutes. 

FAU used Temple’s drought to its advantage, scoring 18 points in the span to put the game on ice. FAU guard Johnell Davis scored just six points in the first half, but he went off for eight in the final six minutes of the game to help his team confirm the home victory.

Temple will look to win its first game in a month when they host UTSA (8-16, 2-9 AAC) at The Liacouras Center on Feb. 18 at 2 p.m.

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