Temple couldn’t keep up in blowout loss to UAB

Temple Men’s Basketball shot efficiently Thursday night, but the Owls could not contain UAB en route to their 100-72 loss in their final game at The Liacouras Center this season.

Temple guard Zion Stanford finished with a career-high of 20 points in Temple's 100-72 loss to UAB. The Owls had their worst defensive performance of the season in their final home game. | ROBERT CRUZ / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Temple Men’s Basketball was on the ropes against UAB. The Owls trailed the Blazers by nine points and tried to claw back with three minutes left in the first half. However, Temple guard Hysier Miller was called for a foul at the midcourt line after the Blazers seemed to go backcourt, and things unraveled. 

Head coach Adam Fisher banged the scorer’s table in response and picked up a technical foul, but felt he had plenty to be frustrated about. The team fell apart, failing to pull within double-digits in its worst loss of the season.

Temple (11-19, 4-13 American Athletic Conference) fell to UAB (19-11, 11-6 AAC) 100-72 Thursday night at The Liacouras Center. The Owls entered the matchup with wins in three of their last four matchups but dropped their final home game of the season.

Fisher had just one thought to sum up his squad’s performance as he took the stage for his postgame comments.

“We got our butts kicked,” Fisher said. “It’s on me.”

Temple was bullied on the boards nearly all game. The Owls were outrebounded 41-19 by the final whistle despite only giving up 11 second-chance points.

Guard Jahlil White converted a layup after being fouled halfway through the opening period and took a four-point lead, and Temple seemed to be firing on all cylinders. That quickly faded as the Owls couldn’t find any rhythm after that point, failing to take control of their skid.

The Blazers switched to a trap defense right after White’s score, smothering the Owls and commanding the pace of the game. UAB outscored Temple 32-13 the remainder of the half after switching to the trap.

“First off, [UAB head coach] Andy Kennedy is a great coach,” Fisher said. “They made an adjustment. We were up. They go to the 1-3-1, and we prepared for it for three straight days. It’s hard to simulate their length and size. Great credit to them because we had never seen a 1-3-1 before.”

UAB helped force four Temple turnovers after the midway point of the opening half, executing a nearly flawless fastbreak offense. The Blazers scored 10 transition points in the first half and finished the game with 19. The Blazers’ speed forced Temple to foul to slow them down, and the Owls finished the half with 11 team fouls.

UAB found its groove and was unstoppable on offense. Temple shot 40 percent in the first half but couldn’t keep up with the scorching-hot Blazers, who ended the period on a 19-8 run to take a 15-point lead.

Temple guard Zion Stanford was the team’s lone bright spot, earning a career-high 20 points on 6-8 shooting from the field. White was the only other Owl with double-digit points, picking up 11 and five rebounds.

“[Zion Stanford] had a freshman-type year,” Fisher said. “He’s a top-five freshman in the league in minutes played and shots taken. It’s a learning experience. There’s going to be ups and downs. I think he’s getting better each game.”

The Blazers opened up the second half right where they left off, missing just four shots through the first 13 minutes of the half. They finished the game shooting an impressive 60 percent from the field and 55 percent from three-point range.

Temple attempted to fight back but trailed by as many as 28 points. The Owls’ offensive effort wasn’t the problem,  shooting 49 percent from the field. They simply couldn’t contain the Blazers on the other end.

Blazers forward Yaxel Lendeborg finished the night with 19 points. The Blazers’ 100 points is the most the Owls have given up all season.

The Owls have just one game remaining in the regular season. They will hit the road to face UTSA (11-19, 5-12 AAC) on March 10 at 3 p.m. before heading to the AAC tournament.

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