With four seconds left in the second half, the Owls trailed Cincinnati by three points and had a chance to tie the game, but senior forward J.P. Moorman II airballed a 3-point attempt, sealing Temple’s fate.
Temple University men’s basketball (4-8, 3-8 The American Athletic Conference) lost to the Bearcats (6-7, 4-4 The American) 71-69 Friday night in a game where the Owls’ offense was dogged by multiple shooting droughts that never allowed them to maintain a meaningful lead.
“We dug a hole for ourselves in the first half and we were playing catch up throughout,” said head coach Aaron McKie. “But we just kept fighting and kept fighting.”
Temple started off the game in the lead until Bearcats senior guard Keith Williams made a 3-point shot, tying the game at 13 points. For the next two minutes, Temple did not score any points.
Both teams started with lackluster performances beyond the arc, as the Owls made 2-of-11 3-point attempts in the first half, while the Bearcats made 3-of-12 attempts. But Cincinnati shot 46.4 percent from the field in the first half, while Temple shot 33.3 percent from the field.
As Temple went into the second half, they had to overcome a six-point deficit, but Cincinnati’s defense, which totaled 32 defensive rebounds, did not allow the Owls to score for about three minutes.
It wasn’t until graduate student guard Brendan Barry, who led the team with 17 points, came off the bench with a fast-paced offensive tempo and made a 3-point shot assisted by Moorman that Temple found some consistent offense.
With more than seven minutes left in the game, Temple trailed 49-43, but Barry didn’t allow the scoreboard to stay like that for long. After a technical foul was called on the Bearcats, Barry made both of his two free-throw attempts and then drilled a quick 3-point shot, making the score 49-48.
With about a minute left in the game, Temple trailed 68-63. After being fouled attempting a 3-point shot, Barry had no fear as he made three free throws, making the score 68-66.
But Temple couldn’t catch up to the Bearcats, as they never tied the game or went ahead in the second half.
“We were trying to get back on top, but as time was running down, it was just more of, ‘We gotta go, we have to score, get stops and capitalize,’” said senior forward De’Vondre Perry.
Cincinnati sophomore guard Jeremiah Davenport, who totaled 12 points, was a difficult assignment for the Owls’ defense to guard due to his aggressiveness on the court and ability to attack the paint.
Temple will look to snap its four-game losing streak on Feb. 16 against Tulsa (9-9, 6-7 The American) at 7 p.m.