Temple comes up short against East Carolina in overtime

Temple Men’s Basketball won just one game in January after losing to ECU 70-64 Sunday, extending their losing streak to six games.

Hysier Miller scored 16 points on an inefficient 5-17 shooting from the field in Temple Men's Basketballs 70-64 overtime loss to ECU. | ROBERT JOSEPH CRUZ / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Entering Sunday’s game, Temple Men’s Basketball had won just one game in January and lost five straight since beating Wichita State at home on Jan. 7. The Owls have remained within a few possessions in most games but have not gotten over the hump in conference play.

However, the Owls were in a position to pull off a victory against East Carolina on the road, leading by eight points with about three minutes remaining. Temple then scored just three points in the closing stretch, allowing the Pirates to tie the game and complete its comeback in overtime.

Temple (8-13, 1-7 American Athletic Conference) came up short against ECU (11-10, 4-4 AAC), losing 70-64 Sunday in Greenville, North Carolina. The Owls have now lost nine of their last 12 games, including six straight.

Guard Jordan Riley finished as the team’s leading scorer and main source of offense. He scored Temple’s first six points and ended the day with 20 points and eight rebounds.

The Owls couldn’t find a rhythm despite Riley’s play, turning the ball over four times in the first four minutes. No other Owl found the bottom of the net until eight minutes into the first half when guard Shane Dezonie knocked down a three. Dezonie finished with 12 points on 3-10 shooting from the field, including going 1-6 from three.

The Owls slowly worked their way back when guard Quante Berry’s two three-pointers anchored a 9-0 run to tie the game at 18 with six minutes left in the half. ECU quickly brought the lead back up to five before guard Hysier Miller got on the scoreboard. Miller had 16 points on the day.

Temple took its first lead at 24-23 with two minutes left in the half, but the Pirates answered back and took a 27-26 lead at the half. The Owls shot 10-28 from the field while the Pirates went 9-26. However, Temple went 1-2 from the free-throw line, and the Pirates shot 6-8. The Owls finished the half with eight turnovers compared to ECU’s two.

Starters Jahlil White and Matteo Picarelli both struggled. White found early foul trouble and did not play much in the first half. He finished the game scoreless and fouled out with 11 seconds left in regulation. Picarelli shot 0-2 from the field and scored just two points.

ECU started the second half with a 6-0 run and the Owls locked in on defense, igniting a 10-0 run to take a 36-33 lead with 12 minutes to play. They held the Pirates scoreless for more than five minutes. The game went back and forth before the Owls gained an eight-point lead with three minutes left in regulation.

ECU suddenly took over, using an 11-3 run, including guard RJ Felton’s game-tying free throws with 10 seconds left to send the game to overtime. They held the Owls to four points in overtime, and Temple did not get on the board until about three minutes into the five-minute period.

Felton had 24 points and guard Bobby Pettiford Jr. added 12 off the bench. ECU swept the season series, beating Temple both on Jan. 10 and Sunday evening.

Temple will look for its first win in nearly a month when they travel to New Orleans to face Tulane (12-8, 3-5 AAC) on Feb. 4 at 4 p.m.

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