Temple men’s basketball drops second consecutive conference game

Houston senior guard Corey Davis Jr.’s 24 points helped the Cougars beat Temple, 73-66, on Thursday at the Fertitta Center in Houston.

Senior center Ernest Aflakpui (left) drives to the basket in Temple's 72-68 loss against Cincinnati on Jan. 27 at the Liacouras Center. | JUSTIN OAKES / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Nine days ago, Houston senior guard Corey Davis Jr. guaranteed his team’s victory in its upcoming rematch against Temple University.

Davis followed through on his guarantee with 24 points in Houston’s 73-66 victory against Temple (15-6, 5-3 American Athletic Conference) on Thursday at the Fertitta Center in Houston.

Houston (21-1, 8-1 The American) sought revenge after Temple senior center Ernest Aflakpui took a charge against Davis to negate the potential game-tying basket in the Owls’ 73-69 win on Jan. 9 at the Liacouras Center.

The Cougars, who are No. 13, in the Associated Press Top 25, won their sixth consecutive game and remained undefeated at home. Houston redshirt-sophomore guard Dejon Jarreau recorded a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds.

Temple’s defeat marks its second consecutive conference loss. On Sunday, the Owls  blew a 10-point halftime lead in their 72-68 loss to Cincinnati.

Temple struggled offensively against Houston. Its top three leading scorers — senior guard Shizz Alston Jr., junior guard Quinton Rose and sophomore guard Nate Pierre-Louis — shot a combined 13-for-41 from the field. Rose, who finished with 26 points on 8-of-22 shooting, was the only Owl who scored more than 10 points.

Senior guard Shizz Alston Jr. (left), drives through the lane in Temple’s 72-68 loss against Cincinnati on Jan. 27 at the Liacouras Center. | COLLEEN CLAGGETT / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Junior guard Alani Moore II was second on the team with nine points on 4-of-7 attempts. Alston finished with six points, tying his season-low from November against Virginia Commonwealth University.

The Owls made it a one-possession game with less than 10 minutes left in the second half, but they couldn’t tie the game afterward.

Sophomore forward J.P. Moorman II’s 3-pointer with nine minutes, 38 seconds left cut Houston’s lead to two points. The Cougars then responded with a 7-0 run, and Temple never came within two points during the rest of the game.

A consistent trend in the Owls’ latest losses has been their big men getting in foul trouble. Aflakpui and sophomore forwards Moorman and Justyn Hamilton each finished with four fouls. The Owls recorded 23 personal fouls while Houston had 13 fouls.

The foul differential allowed the Cougars to attempt 36 free throws to the Owls’ 14. Houston shot 23-for-36 from the free-throw line, while the Owls made 12 of their 14 foul shots.

Coach Fran Dunphy tinkered with his starting lineup for this first time this season by starting Hamilton in place of sophomore forward De’Vondre Perry. Hamilton had four points and two rebounds in 18 minutes.

Temple’s next game will be in New Orleans against Tulane (4-16, 0-8 The American) on Saturday at 6 p.m.

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